Recent headlines have shown us that really tough economic times are an equal opportunity event, with the propensity to take out the 800-pound gorilla almost as easily as it can the fairly younger or smaller companies. In fact, sometimes the bigger and more evolved companies have a harder time making the necessary changes in time that would allow them to survive and evolve through the crisis themselves. The good news is that the Seven Missing Links that ensure successful corporate evolution (see my last blog) can be applied by any size organization. It is critical, however, that the evolution or crisis plan is understood and embraced by those who will have to implement it.
While all of the missing links rely on people to make changes and transition, it should be noted that the last link is far from being considered the least link, and should not be underestimated:
7. A company-wide belief that the transition is possible.
It’s imperative to be certain that the entire organization is on board and equipped to respond appropriately to achieve your goal before you announce and implement your change plan. Even if your plan is perfect, and seemingly “doable,” the execution of that plan is dependent on the employees’ perception of that plan. In Booz & Company’s Economic Crisis Survey fielded in December 2008, they found that 34% of C-level executives expressed doubts about the crisis plan put forth. Not surprisingly, 51% of managers not reporting directly to the CEO had doubts about the company’s ability to implement those crisis plans. Remember that our perceptions drive our behaviors, which ultimately decide the outcome. If your employees or senior management do not believe in the transition, the transition will probably fail.
I have worked with countless organizations who get stuck somewhere along the way as they attempt to evolve and adapt to their new market environments. I’ve found that The Seven Missing Links can serve as one way to assess whether your change plan has what it takes to respond to changes effectively and evolve to meet the next challenge. And never forget that the effectiveness of any plan will always be determined by the quality or strength of the plan AND the willingness of those who will be asked to implement it. One without the other will create something less than the desired result. .
 [Source: “Recession Response: Why Companies are Making the Wrong Moves”, Booz & Company, December 2008].