It Doesn’t End with the Announcement


Do people in your organization embrace new policies and procedures?

If you are like most companies, it depends on how well and how quickly new expectations become embedded as part of the routine.

The change itself doesn’t matter–it could be a new mission statement, software system, or leadership team. What matters is what occurs after you announce the change.

Most leaders have the faulty assumption that once you tell people what is expected, you will see them align with it.  This fallacy is known as “managing by announcements,” a virus-like plague I call “MbA.”   When a leader has the “MbA” virus, they define purpose, policies and procedures well. They announce the news and publish it. And then they expect all the employees will embrace the change and begin to live into it at work.

In other words, “We've told them what to do. Now they'll do it.”

I have got news for you. Defining and announcing the change and the expectations that go with it is the easy part! To make sure your teams embrace the changes, you must spend time and energy helping them modify their behavior and adapt how they do things. Moreover, YOU must live out the new requirements yourself immediately.

You will have to model behavior. Coach changes. Redirect players. Praise progress. And hold EVERYONE accountable.

We see indications of the MbA plague all the time such as this example.

A multi-billion dollar company has their business principles and standards crisply defined and widely available. Their standards include:

  • Our clients' interests always come first.
  • Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business.
  • We take great pride in the professional quality of our work.
  • To breach a confidence or use confidential information improperly or carelessly would be unthinkable.

Their list of standards is extensive. If you read the full list, you would be impressed that this company has clearly defined what a good job looks like.

However, it ended there. There was too little accountability for these standards, and in July 2010 the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that this company, Goldman Sachs, agreed to pay a record $550 million fine to settle charges that the firm misled investors in a subprime mortgage product just as the US housing market began to collapse.

How can leaders immunize themselves against the disease of MbA? Follow the prescription noted above. LIVE the new requirements in every interaction. Coach yes, but MODEL it yourself. Hold others accountable and invite them to hold YOU accountable too.

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S. Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. After a 15-year executive career leading and managing successful business teams, Chris began his consulting company in 1990. Under Chris’ guidance, culture clients have consistently boosted their customer satisfaction and employee engagement rates by 40 percent or more and results and profits by 35 percent or more.