The companies in the face of change

Emmanuelle Grill

Special Collaboration

March 21, 2020

Les entreprises face au changement

Photo: iStock
To achieve true transformation within an organization, it is necessary that each actor is involved, says the councillor Michel Maletto.

This text is part of the special Unpointcinq

Human resources advisor chartered, Michel Maletto is a real reference in the area of organizational development and change management. Here is his vision of the challenges facing organizations in a context of climate emergency.

What are the different organizational challenges for companies that want to transform themselves and to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions ?

Michel Maletto : This depends on many factors : the field of activity, the size and the nature of the business, the change that one wishes to bring, etc, service companies might want to electrify their fleet of vehicles,while retailers will want to reduce the use of plastic bags and to buy local products. But it is also necessary to take account of the various systems at work within the organization : financial,operational, marketing, among others.They are all interrelated, and a change to one component will necessarily have an impact on all the others.

Les entreprises face au changement

Photo: Courtesy
Michel Maletto

A grocery store chain that decides for example to stop selling small bottles of water would have to think of alternatives, such as offering reusable bottles that can be filled at a water dispenser in the store. It will put an end to the contract binding them to the previous supplier, think about the consequences on the supply, storage, etc, It will also need to think about the financial implications, to inform the managers of branches and clients, etc, This will have a domino effect and affect all the systems of the organization as a whole.

What are the winning conditions for change to be effectively adopted within an organization ?

It is necessary, first, that the business of a survival culture, where organizational leaders are trying to change behaviour by applying pressure and adopting a tone of moralizing, and a culture of development, which raises the consciousness of individuals and incites them to contribute because they understand the rationale for the change. This is what we call’empowerment. It gives people the power to act and the tools to do so. A true leader development is not trying to convince, rather, it seeks to understand, which, ultimately, produces a result more effective and sustainable.

The organization must be accompanied in its efforts to help to mobilize the internal resources and the different actors of the chain. I often use the analogy of the string of Christmas lights : if there is a single burnt-out bulb, this is the garland that goes out. Similarly, to achieve true transformation, it is necessary that each actor is involved, without which it will not obtain a set of small changes.

Is there an effective method to encourage employees to ride the train of change ?

This is not so much the change itself that is problematic than the way it is managed, and it is for this reason that people develop resistance. It must also be remembered that, if the leaders plan the change, it is the managers who implement it and the employees who carry it out. This is the reason why it is crucial that they are involved in the transformation if we want it to happen. However, through my interventions within many companies, as well as here in France, I could see that these three levels are not always on the same wavelength.

For they meet, I organiserais a series of informational meetings. In the first, it explains the rationale for the change, in the second, it is to listen to the people, because they need to express themselves. It performs an inventory of the concerns and measures that will be put in place. Finally, in a third encounter, it describes how change will be deployed in practice.

The businesses who will not turn to on live ?

Those who will not evolve are at risk. Currently, we feel that there has been an evolution of the standard, and a sphere of influence in the society. For example, members of the younger generations want a company in which they work reflects their values, including environmental. In a context of shortage of labour and talent, this is going to weigh in the balance. We also note that portfolio managers have stopped investing in fossil fuels. The social norm implied in the process of change, it is no longer possible to go back.

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