The one sure thing that is constant for organizations is change. Change in market demographics, change in technology, and change in consumer demand. Mobile devices are changing the way we view and interact with the world. Consumers are multi-tasking more and value their time greatly. Social media is becoming the central hub for communication, both internally and among consumers. Keeping your organization relevant requires careful management and adaptation.
With 2015 poised to be a big year, here are 7 change management trends to watch for.
1. Be aware of constant change
IT industries are in a constant state of flux right now. Core ideas are being disrupted by the evolution of security, network access, management, and applications. Having to manage these changes can be challenging to take in at first. Managers need to be aware that disruption is not a part of predictive cycles. You can still have long-term goals, but you need to back them with adaptive short-term responses. According to Gartner “If the delivery of the change process does not include a clear understanding of the implementation mechanism, a communications plan, a marketing effort, incentives for change and a project focus, then the effort is likely to fail”.
2. Develop your agility
Speaking of which, disruptive micro-changes in markets require agility to keep up with. Learn to speed up your team’s workflow, making decisions more decisively, and incorporating unseen consequences into your product cycle. Try working with smaller, tighter teams before building up expansive ones. Smaller collaborative efforts are easier to manage and are therefore more responsive to disruption.
3. Emphasize short-term goals, but plan long-term broadly
Your organization may have an overarching long-term plan, but if you only look to the far future, you will lose focus on the things that currently matter. Although many short-term and long-term goals line up, it is easier to manage and measure small victories. However, you cannot extend the measurement and management of short-term goals into the long-term. Have a strategic vision, but not a specific detailed one. Highly detailed five-year plans tend to become outdated quickly.
4. Promote your brand on social networks
According to a report by LinkedIn, 61% of respondents preferred social professional networks for promoting their brand.
You can leverage the fact that social networks are becoming more popular by building up your organizations social network profile. Most consumers seek these profiles for quick looks into what you offer.
5. Sales and marketing will be at the forefront of change
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 41% of respondents said that sales and marketing have been the focus of change management in the past year, which is by far the highest percent seen in recent years. Good marketing increases consumer demand which leads to growth, which is the first step in any business in this day and age. Consumer trends change rapidly, so proactively staying ahead is important.
6. Look for innovation in the mobile market
Expect mobile devices to continue to increase in consumer usage rates at a rapid pace. Web interfaces should adhere to good design standards. De-clutter important visual areas, and simplify the interface. Consumers on mobile devices will appreciate the change, and will be more likely to return. Furthermore, look to use mobile apps and internal social networks in the workplace to increase worker productivity.
7. Not all change management is executed successfully
In fact, Economist Intelligence Unit found that only 56% of change initiatives were effective. The biggest issue among executives is that sales and product development changes can be hard to grasp. As Gartner analyst state “You must take change management seriously. Gain board-level support and involve the full spectrum of department representatives to gather requirements”. The goalposts of what “change” is are constantly shifting, which presents a significant challenge to leadership. Do not expect that all change initiatives will be completely successful. Build in some wiggle room for unexpected failures and adapt to them.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.