Ten fears that you must overcome to implement in a traditional company

The changes generate fears for those who must implement them and resistance for those who must execute them. It’s normal, it’s part of human nature. If I want to organize a corporate telework model, it means that I am going to promote a change in the way we work in my company. On the other hand, if I want to do it well, I am going to try to transform a part of what constitutes your corporate culture, which is something very relevant.

When a manager is faced with that decision, he cannot move around fashions, trends or conjunctural situations. You must perform a very fine analysis on the fit that this decision will have in the company’s strategy. And you will have doubts, for sure. The doubts are accentuated when we talk about implementing teleworking, because it is something that does not have a direct correlation with the development of the business. And I want to highlight the concept of ‘direct correlation’, because indirectly it is clear that it does. On the contrary, it is a change that will modify the way in which working people will carry out their functions. And that does not have, once again, a direct correlation to the income statement. It is clear that motivated employees generate more efficient companies, and more efficient companies, generally end up being more profitable. The risks are not few, and hence the fears arise.

We are going to analyze some of those main fears that can arise and end up becoming pain points. We are going to do it based on the vision of the leader or manager himself. It is about putting emphasis on some of the reflections that any ‘normal’ manager has raised when facing this type of situation. And we are going to put it in the first person, with a triple approach: those fears that affect staff, management team level and worker level. In each approach we are going to display three main fears. Let’s see:

Regarding me.
  • Digital transformation is a wave that will overtake me, I don’t know if I will be able to digitize, at my age. Perhaps it is better to wait and see and, in any case, for the in-depth approach to be done by the next generation, who will be more prepared.
  • I have got to where I am thanks to the many hours I have invested in my company. In fact, in recent years I have spent more time in my office than at home. And I know my people very well because I have spent a lot of time with them. I’m not sure I can run my business without that touch component.
  • I worry that the board does not quite understand. It is very difficult for me to transmit actions that are not directly related to direct business results. Although I am very clear that innovation in management is just as important as innovation in product, process or service. In short, it will cost me a lot to “sell” the idea without being certain about the result.
Regarding my management team.
  • I don’t know if I have the right management team for this new reality. They are very capable people with a lot of knowledge of our business, but it is difficult for them to manage changes and they do not feel comfortable in managing uncertainty.
  • My senior management team is used to leading their teams in a very traditional way, assigning tasks and continuously monitoring their performance. Perhaps I am going to meet great resistance on his part to manage that change, and I don’t know if it is worth opening that melon.
  • It is not clear to me who to assign operational leadership of change management. I am clear that the most important thing has to do with the human factor, but I see that the HR department is very focused on its own processes (and they do it very well). On the other hand, it could be led by the CTO, but he cannot be distracted from his main objectives, and managing the human side is not his greatest strength. The one who has direct responsibility for the workforce is the director of operations, but I am concerned that he will stop focusing on the business. The truth is that I do not want to resort to an external, but …
Regarding my employees.
  • I am aware that one of the priority objectives of all people is to achieve a better reconciliation of personal and professional life, and I agree. But when I bring it to my specific company I am not sure that my workers can maintain the level of performance without direct and personal supervision of middle managers. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just not totally sure.
  • It takes my employees a long time to come to terms with the small changes that have occurred over time. In this way, I imagine that the management of major changes will need a degree of involvement that I don’t know if we are going to achieve. I do not know if the fear of the unknown is going to generate new resistance that may end up diverting us from the final goal.
  • To manage change I will need to measure the degree of progress with data. In this sense, I would like to have indicators that allow me to show the Council that with this new way of working we gain efficiency and motivation. But that means measuring something that we haven’t done until now and I’m afraid that it could cause labor unrest.
And finally, the big question: will it be worth getting into this mess?

After all, my company has survived many crises and if something has remained unchanged over time, it is the way we work here (obviously, with the adaptations resulting from technological advances).

I do not know if someone who is reading this article and now, after the COVID-19 crisis, has to decide on this issue feels reflected in these reflections. If so, I think it’s good news. Why? Because any change must be preceded by a process of strategic reflection and that process cannot exist without taking into account the possible threats, that is, the fears and obstacles that you must overcome if you want to be successful. And because the management of fear is inherent to the management of business organizations.

Innovation in the company is not an act of conquest, it is an exercise in exploration.

It has to do with moving into the unknown and the unknown generates fear. And it is in the hands of those who are capable of changing the present in which they live to build the future they imagine. It is not the objective of this article to provide answers to these fears. Each manager will have to find them for himself. We will continue to advance on this in future writings, when we address an essential aspect of corporate telework management: its fit into the company’s strategy. When we get to that stage, it will be very important to have made progress in managing the manager’s fears.