You can prepare all the documents and design all the strategies you need in your organisation. You can tell people that there will be a change, no matter what that includes. But in the end, to create a sustainable and long-lasting transformation that will be not just accepted but also embraced, people need to feel included and listened to throughout the entire process of change.
Don’t fear making big changes in your organisation. We make small alterations all the time. But remember to plan for the big screening, even if it might exploit your faults. And most importantly, act on it when you find them. Don’t let them grow bigger over time if you can´t prioritise them now. Look into when you can. Sometimes you need a quick fix, during the process of change. But remember that a quick fix is just that, it’s not a long-lasting solution.
When you are making changes, that becomes a longer journey, a bigger process that includes many, if not all parts of the organisation and structure. There is a need to, every now and then, stop and analyse the process. Just because you had a brilliant plan in the beginning, it doesn’t mean that it will be perfect all the way. You will need to alter the plan during the journey. New ideas will need to be included, and others excluded. Be open to the ideas of others, the more ideas people give you, the more insight of their challenges and perspective you get. The better result you will have.
Many times, as a political party, we see elections as a stopping point as well as the starting point for new ideas. But when you wish to make a long-lasting change, the plan you make needs to include elections but not as a start and stop. Instead, see the elections as a time to pause and reflect. Learn from the election process and the people, allow this time to include new ideas and to, if necessary, make a shift in the plan. Things happen, and if we wish for change, we need to embrace it as something constant and let our plans be more fluent, not something static.
Changing an organisation, it’s not just something you check off a list, at one point in time, it’s something you need to do constantly, and you need to be open to the new things that are coming.
Include your people!
No change will happen if your people don’t accept and embrace it. That means you have to include them in the process, from pre-study and idea, to making it happen and onward. All of them have different experiences, perspective, and knowledge of what works for their part of the organisation. Include and listen to them, and your work will become so much better.
People have become engaged in your organisation because they wish to be seen and heard, so let them be just that. They have so many good ideas that you as a leader never thought of, and the only way for you to learn them during this journey of change, is to invite them to a conversation and listen.
The behaviour of individuals
It’s easy to forget that change is about our individual behaviours. If people don’t wish to change their own behaviour to make a bigger change in the organisation, then nothing will happen. Always explain the reasons for change and get people onboard, make sure that people wish to make the change, not just the bigger picture, but what they as individuals must contribute with.
I say that change takes time. Because we don’t just need to make the change on a paper, or in our systems. We need to ask people to change their own behaviours, and that is both easy and very hard. So, give yourself the time for change to happen.
Give yourself the time you need
Most of the time you find many problems and challenges, and you realise that to fix them all you need time, a lot of it. You cannot just look to the next election as the end point for your process of change. Always allow the process to take the time it needs.
Bio: Louise Pettersson is Project Manager for the Centre Party with the focus on organisation development. For the past two years, her projects have included finding some best practice ideas to implement in the organisation by listening to sister parties all over Europe. They asked questions on how they worked on creating an engaging organisational structure and culture. Today her main focus area is the digital infrastructure, and the communication platforms for members.