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The Pivot: When to Change and How It Can Transform Your Work Culture

In Ancient Times

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is credited with determining the philosophical concepts that inspired the statement: “The only constant in life is change.” This concept is just as vital now as it was back then, especially for organizations that must pivot and change to stay afloat and relevant to attract A-Player talent continually.

So, what is a pivot, and when do you know when it is time to make one benefit your organization? Pivots are beneficial because they can help create an inclusive culture within your organization. The goal is to pivot at the perfect time, usually when the red flags are first spotted.

If you suspect your organization might need to pivot but don’t know what to do next, read on! The pivot may be just what you need.

What Does it Mean to Pivot?

Pivoting is taking inspired action after pausing to reflect on the surrounding situation and allowing informed intuition to guide the next steps forward.

We will explore how pivoting helps create an inclusive culture to put into context the role pivoting makes once the decision to improve company culture becomes a top priority.

About Pivoting

Organizations often find themselves in a situation where they need to make changes to stay relevant. Pivoting changes direction or focus in response to new information or market conditions. It involves rethinking existing strategies and adapting them to keep your business competitive and successful. By taking advantage of this robust process called a “pivot,” you can ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve and continues growing into the future.

How Pivoting Helps to Create an Inclusive Culture

Pivoting to create an inclusive culture has tremendous benefits for businesses. Organizations can foster a more open and inviting work environment by embracing diversity in all operations. This encourages collaboration between different departments and reduces the risk of alienating people or creating barriers and challenges that would not otherwise be there. Additionally, pivoting to an inclusive culture requires an inclusive spirit of service mindset that can improve morale and customer relationships and reduce people churn and turnover.

How Pivoting Is Important to Change Management

Change management is vital to making a successful pivot within any organization. It involves assessing the current situation, evaluating potential scenarios, and implementing an appropriate plan to ensure the organization remains on the right track with key stakeholders staying on the same page.

It is essential to keep a compassionate spirit and remain patient, agile, and flexible to adjust quickly to changing people, needs, or industry trends. When done well, change management ensures that all stakeholders are on board to make “the pivot.”

How you approach this process will make a world of difference.

How Pivoting and Change Management Work Together to Co-Create an Inclusive Culture

The change management process is essential when pivoting because it provides a system that can facilitate and empower the way forward, minimize disruption and optimize the continuous growth process for improving workplace dynamics. Improving workplace dynamics requires a proficient understanding of the undercurrents working behind the scenes in the organization’s culture. An inclusive system considers stakeholders and helps to co-create an environment where people feel psychologically safe to show up authentically, express themselves honestly, learn and make mistakes graciously, and come together to make decisions that benefit the whole while honoring the individual as a whole, healthy, and interdependent human being.

By taking advantage of this robust process, inclusive leaders can foster trust and co-create collaboration, creativity, innovation, and respect among their people while improving overall performance. With an effective change management strategy and plan to pivot in place, senior leaders can thoughtfully consider the challenges and plan how to address and resolve the challenges to promote a successful pivot while cultivating an environment of inclusion where everyone feels valued and respected regardless of background or position.

How to Know When It’s Time to Make a Change and Pivot

Learning the right time to pivot is essential because it will help maximize its impact. While not an exhaustive list, here are some red flags to look for. The more red flags you see, the more it’s time to make “the pivot.”

Here’s a look at the red flags to watch out for:

  • Poor communication. When communication is poor between people, departments, or teams, or there is a complete breakdown of communication between individuals, it is time to pivot.

  • Turnover. Check for high churn and people turnover rates. Pivoting could help reduce these numbers by considering the problem, creating a solution, and then creating a plan to pivot into implementing the solution.

  • Cliques. Check for evidence of cliques and gatekeepers, as they tend to isolate those who do not meet the approval of clique leaders.

  • Signs of drama. When there is gossip, rumors, and water-cooler drama, this is a sign that a change is needed.

  • Unsupportive leadership. Workplaces thrive with supportive leadership, so if they show a lack of support, this could be a sign. A lack of support from the leadership team will kill the potential for anything before it grows. Don’t be that person.

  • Favoritism. Favoritism is a poor form of hierarchy that rewards based on popularity instead of growth potential; when leaders show favoritism to a preferred few, this could signify that your workplace culture needs to pivot for an impactful change.

  • Growth. Does the organization have an environment that fosters growth? Watch for evidence of limited opportunities, a sense of stagnation, and signs of barriers to growth and advancement. Are your people growing? Are they engaging, communicating, learning from mistakes, and feeling safe to show up authentically as themselves? If people feel unsafe showing up and being themselves, this is a red flag and a sign that a pivot may be necessary.

  • Conflict. High levels of interpersonal conflict within the organization could indicate that it is time to pivot into a conflict resolution strategy.

  • Goals. Are the organization’s goals and priorities clear to everyone? Are roles, responsibilities, goals, and objectives understood? When there is too much emphasis on short-term gains over long-term results, this is a red flag and a sign to consider making a pivotal decision.

  • Groups. Check your group dynamics. How are they? Is there a lack of communication between pods that form within the larger organization? Is there more competition than cooperation and no inclusive, collaborative spirit? If the dynamics are poor, it could be time to pivot.

  • Work expectations. Are there unsustainable work hours, unmanageable workloads, and stressful expectations? If so, it is a sign that a pivot is in order.

Deciding to Change and Pivot to an Inclusive Culture

The first step in pivoting to an inclusive culture is setting the intention and making the conscious decision to do it. This requires honest self-reflection, as well as an understanding of the current state of the organization and its goals for the future. Once this commitment has been made, it’s time to act by considering the current situation and developing strategies and a plan to pivot toward co-creating an inclusive workplace.

To ensure success, the change begins at the top. It’s essential that senior leaders take ownership of these efforts, embody the desired change, and set clear expectations for everyone on what is acceptable and not acceptable, as well as communicate why the change is essential.

Taking this first step towards creating a truly inclusive culture is just the beginning; however, if done correctly, it can smooth the way forward and set your organization up for long-term sustainable success. Obviously, the larger the organization, the more complex the process, and the more time and consideration it will take to create an effective strategy and implement a change management plan to ensure a smooth pivot into a more inclusive culture.

In Closing

Pivoting makes timely changes after receiving new information that changes conditions and, therefore, the need for change. Change management is the practice by which pivoting is made possible. Together, they facilitate the creation of an inclusive workplace culture. They are essential for organizations to foster a collaborative spirit of creativity, innovation, and respect.

To ensure success in pivoting to an inclusive culture, leaders must take ownership of the efforts while involving key stakeholders. Additionally, recognizing red flags early, such as poor communication between individuals, departments, and teams, allows business leaders to promptly address red flags after recognizing them.

With a conscious decision to pivot towards an inclusive culture, companies will set themselves apart from the old paradigm that treats people as cogs in a machine and ensure long-term success, contributing to whole-person health and improved morale and well-being that produces a cooperative and collaborative culture and community.

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