Years ago, during my corporate days, I can still remember how frustrating it was when I was put on a project, worked hard with those of us on it, only to be told the project was going in another direction. This is a common complaint I’ve heard lately from clients – their organization starts a new system or program which doesn’t pan out. Just as they are getting used to it, it’s off to something else.
So this begs the question: can an organization suffer from bright, shiny object syndrome? Meaning that they implement some type of a new program or system which makes no sense for their current ones; or, it’s something that’s trending so they jump on the bandwagon (my experience). What leads to this confusing behavior?
There are several reasons why this can be the case:
- Brand – organizations are always needing to ensure their brand is visible to consumers but, if traffic seems slow or projected numbers aren’t reached, this can lead to wanting to enhance the brand. Looking at how others, who are in the limelight and getting attention, can lead to wanting to go into that same direction
- Fiscal – if an organization is not doing well, they will try many ways to bring buyers in so new programs will be developed in the hopes of doing so. Also, as profits decline, looking at trimming expenses needs to occur, which could be through layoffs or ending current programs that are high dollar, in lieu of others
- Jumping on the Bandwagon – there are just some leaders who have heard of a new trend and want to jump on, too; it’s the old “if it works for them, it will work for us, too”
- New Direction – companies always need to be expanding and growing to keep up with consumer needs, so this can mean that new processes or systems will be implemented to ensure that growth
While all of these reasons have merit, it seems that there is no forethought into any of these ideas, or at least from an employee’s standpoint who is the one to carry out that new newly developed program. This is not to suggest that leaders don’t put thought into their decisions but, when doing so, it’s not about tunnel-vision to the perceived end-result. Switching from program to program will only create misery all-around: the brand can be confused; more money will be spent, and lost; doing what other’s do won’t always mean it works for all; and new directions can still mean you will get lost.
Don’t be one of these organizations who switch and change randomly. Pulling the rug out from employees, from one idea to another, can frustrate and deflate the creativity and effort of the team. I remember having worked for months on a new program and, just as it was about ready to launch, being told that the project was scrapped for another, which a competitor had implemented. Talk about an emotional time!
This is a time of transparency for the needed change, and then for inclusion of workers and getting their feedback; if these workers don’t know the reasons for the changes or the benefit to them, resistance will occur, which can lead to high levels of stress, dissatisfaction, and disengagement. People will leave under these circumstances, so communicating openly with them will get more buy-in, resulting in program success.
New systems, processes or programs can work but there should be a method for making the decision, as well as for how it will play out. This means being open, transparent in intentions, allowing employees to share ideas and feedback, keeping them informed along the way.
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