The new CEO personally visited sites across the province, acknowledging what he learned from the listening sessions, addressing questions and concerns and committing to specific remedial action.
The Power of Listening Transforms Crisis into Opportunity
The heart of the strategy was listening to employees and stakeholders and addressing the issue and their concerns directly and authentically. This required new leadership skills in crisis management, self-management, and communications. It demanded facing the human/emotional aspects of the crisis and supporting people through their upset. Luckily, we were able to convince the executives that this approach would drive toward the open, honest and transparent culture they were trying to create. Our strategy included:
- Immediate coaching of all executives in deep listening and how to have authentic conversations with upset stakeholders and not get emotionally triggered themselves during such interchanges
- Road trips by executives, implementing a series of cascaded listening sessions which engaged all employees within two-weeks; sharing their personal experience of the crisis and openly discussing “why values matter,” and collecting employee input on changes needed in operations and culture
- Reporting back to all employees within two weeks the plans for these changes and how employees can be engaged in them
- Coaching managers on the human dynamics of change and how to actively listen and facilitate dialogue with their teams
- Immediately announcing a new company values creation process where all employees would be involved