Change is an inevitable part of the modern business environment. But change rarely comes easily.
Organizations, and the people within them, must constantly re-invent themselves to remain competitive. As a result, today’s leaders must do more than manage the status quo – leaders must be champions in change readiness – the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.
Resistance to change
Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start of your change management programme will allow you to effectively manage objections. Understanding the most common reasons people object to change gives you the opportunity to plan your change strategy to address these factors.
A sense of urgency
Failure to create a strong sense of urgency causes a change movement to lose momentum before it gets a chance to start. Establishing a true sense of urgency without creating an emergency is the first objective achieved to overcome the routine of daily business.
Build an emotional and rational case for change
Many leaders excel at building the rational case for change, but they are less adept in appealing to people’s emotional core. Yet the employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies.
Change management require that people feel the problem
Before you can get buy-in, people need to feel the problem. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.
Involve the people
Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties. Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.
Increase engagement by asking questions
Have you ever been “talked at” instead of had someone “talk with”? It doesn’t feel good to have someone talk at you. It leaves you feeling like you might as well not have been there at all. It is much more powerful asking questions. Increase engagement by asking questions when leading change.
How to deliver bad news in connection with change
Delivering bad news is one of the biggest challenges managers face. How can you deliver bad news in a way that minimizes the damage: Don’t wait too long – do it as soon as possible, give them the big picture, speak candidly and plan for questions.
Culture an important part of change management
All change in organizations is challenging, but perhaps the most daunting is changing culture. But if managers want to build high-performing organizations, they need to address culture change
Storytelling can be a powerful tool when you want to drive organizational change. Good leaders tell stories that “cast” them and their organizations as agents of change, rather than defenders of the status quo.
Change old habits
Sustaining success depends on an organization’s ability to adapt to a changing environment – whether it’s an external change, such as a transformative technology or a changing economy, or an internal one, such as a restructuring or key process overhaul
Change requires breaking down silos
Business silos, just like agricultural silos hold something important and make it hard to get at. That’s good when you’re protecting wheat and corn from rain & snow. But it’s bad when you’re trying to change across departments and divisions. And the bigger the company the more harmful a role silos play. Silos create an environment where sharing and collaborating for anything other than one silo’s special interests is virtually impossible.
Communication is paramount when it comes to change management
Lots of it. Change is unsettling because it brings with it an element of uncertainty. And it is the uncertainty which is a major cause of resistance to change. People can relate to facts – good or bad – but uncertainty and contradicting messages breed unease and resistance. Therefore, it is important to communicate with everybody about everything in relation to the upcoming changes in order to reduce the uncertainty. Use any communication channels available and remember that it is impossible to over-communicate change.
Use social media
Social media platforms are ideal mechanisms to facilitate change because much of change management boils down to ongoing conversations and dialogue in a company.
Change management and the power of small wins
Large change management problems are best broken down into smaller ones with concrete achievable goals. Otherwise it can be so overwhelming that solutions seem unattainable – therefore, people often avoid tackling them or come up with single, grand programs that fail. Don’t forget to pour champagne on it.
Companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business.
Author: Torben Rick
Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development, change management and turn-around.
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