Change vs. Transformation

Are you looking for true organizational transformation?


Research shows that failed organizational change can be more detrimental to an organization than not changing at all. It can also be very confusing to employees.

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir, Senior Corporate Director of Global Learning Solutions and Organizational Development at the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center, has more than 15 years’ experience in helping organizations prepare for and implement successful organizational change. She focuses on helping leaders define the goals of change, and then developing and disseminating clear and consistent communication to all employees, stakeholders and leaders.

Listen as Jill discusses how to avoid “change for the sake of changing” and instead, define and successfully execute the three phases of change and transformation from an employee engagement perspective.

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir, Senior Corporate Director of Global Learning Solutions and Organizational Development at the Ritz-Carlton, dives into the importance of effective change management inside an organization.

“So change is constant now. It's the way in the environment that we live in. What I think's important is especially when different clients that I work with is finding out there's a difference between change and a difference between transformation.”

“So you can constantly be changing. So I always use one of the examples is you go on a diet. You lose weight, and you look great for a while. And then, unfortunately, you go back into those old habits, right? And you start eating that food that you shouldn't be eating and not working out as much. So you change for a time, but you didn't transform. So if you were going to transform, you'd actually have a lifestyle change. You won’t go back and eat those foods anymore. Working out would be part of your life. It's something that you do. If you're on vacation, wherever you are, it becomes who you are, a part of you.”

“So I think with organizations, it's going to be, are they transforming or are they just changing for a moment? Is it new leadership that came in, and they have a different agenda and they want to run left, and then they're going to go right again? And that can get very confusing to your employees. And that's why there's been research out there that says that a lot of change in issues fail. And when they fail, they're even more detrimental to the organization than if they never occurred at all, which is scary.”

Dr. Guindon-Nasir goes on to talk about when your organization is ready to change or transform, it is important that you communicate why you’re changing with your employees. Communication is a key component in change management and without clear communication; your employees will not be on board.

“And so, when you embark on whether it's change or the transformation that you're going through, I think you really need to outline why you're doing that. And then it all comes down to communication, right? So when organizations decide that they're going to do change but they don't communicate that with anyone, that's when those barriers to change come up. That's when the employees really try to do their best to make it fail, not because they want to make it fail, but because they don't understand what's happening to them, right? So they start to put those barriers up in protection.”

“So I think for organizations, they need to really think, if it's not broke, don't fix it. But you need to constantly look and see how you're evolving, how you're transforming throughout the process, and to know really why you're doing it versus just change for change's sake.”

Basically, it is important not to call for change just for the sake of changing. For most people, change is hard and can create an unstable feeling in the organization. Don’t put your employees through that unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Guindon-Nasir then goes on to tell us more about employee engagement in Ritz-Carlton and how they have created an organizational culture that their Ladies and Gentlemen live by.

“A lot of times when employers engage with us, they wonder how long is it going to take for my employees to decide to see the change in their behaviors, right? Get their ROI, they'll say, the return on investment from working with you. And what we share with them is that at Ritz-Carlton, we believe it really takes a full year.”

For the Ritz-Carlton, they believe there are three phases that new hires go through before they are fully engaged in the organizational culture: Hearing it, Believing it, and Living it. We believe this also applies for any change or transformation you want to implement inside your organization. If you’re in charge of change management, your first priority should be to make sure that your employees hear about the change, believe in the change and ultimately buy in and live the change.

“So when we select an individual, we believe they go through a process. And the first process they go through is the hearing it phase. So when I knew I was going to go work for Ritz-Carlton, I had heard it's an amazing place to work. I was so excited to work for the ladies and gentlemen, and that's how you are on-boarded in the organization. Then you start to go through about five to six months in the middle of the year. You start to go through what's called the believing it phase. And the believing it phase is, ‘Wow, I really signed on to this amazing organization.’ And people do believe in it. They're walking the talk. This is true, right? This is not something that's made up. And this is real, and I love this. So I believe now what I'm doing. So it becomes the greater purpose, what you believe.”

“And then eventually when you get to that full year, you start to go into the living it phase. And that's when it actually becomes who you are, not what you do. And so at that point, you're living it. You're espousing the things that you believe, and we actually psychologically rehire our employees at that one year anniversary to say you're still engaged. Make sure they're living it at that point. That, again, they heard it. They believe it. And now they're living it.”

“So we think that it takes one full year to go through. And a lot of organizations will then go out, and they'll re-measure. They'll collect the data again. And that's when they'll start to see the data points changing. Because it does take time, because we're talking about transformation, for the people to actually transform. But that's why it's so important that the leaders are really walking the talk. Because when I did a lot of my research in this area, they always said it was not what they said, but it's what they were doing. They were watching them constantly, and that's how they got to living it phase themself.”

It takes time for organizational change to become the new norm, especially if you’ve been doing things the same way for a long period of time. With an effective change management strategy, you can ensure not just change, but transformation inside the organization.

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir has a passion for sharing best practices, implementing lessons learned and achieving sustainable results. She has over 20 years in business and has served at The Ritz-Carlton for almost 15 years. Her past positions...

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