By: Chris @ChangeMBlog Smith
Change Management is a proactive approach to future proofing organizations. The key point is that change is not a single event, but rather it is a process that can be confusing and disorganized. Properly managing this long term transition creates a competitive advantage. With the holiday season coming up around the corner, times will be getting more stressful, and changes to your organization will be inevitable.
Here are 7 ways that Change Management can help ensure that these changes are implemented smoothly.
1. Take a peek at your own gifts
Evaluate your current business trends. You must have a strong grasp of where your business stands currently, before you can expect to make changes for the future. Ignoring this step can lead your organization down a hasty and messy transitional path. Take a close look at trends outside of your own business as well. Cultural and technological changes can also inspire your own decisions.
2. Start at the top of the Christmas tree
Just like the star on the top of a Christmas tree, the most important part of managing change is through a top-down approach. Employees look up to the CEO and leadership team for support and direction. Leaders who buy into change will have a significant positive effect on morale. Conversely, bottom-up approaches may have employees questioning why change is even necessary, especially when their superiors are unaffected or unmotivated.
3. Sing a joyous song with a message
While you may be passionate and aware of the need to change, others may not view it in the same light. According to Gartner “It is human nature to shift this discomfort to the new system, assuming that it is inhibiting their job, rather than recognizing the elimination of problems they had with the old system. Since most users won’t be actively reminding themselves of the improvements they get with the new system, someone else needs to make the improvements visible.” Reinforce core messages to ensure that employees have the right information and understand what the reasons for change are. In the late 1990s, the Internal Revenue Service envisioned taxpayers as customers and turned a “feared bureaucracy into a world-class service organization”. They were able to get 100,000+ employees to adhere to this new vision through a variety of channels, and transform their historically low rated customer ratings into high ratings.
4. Craft a magical plan
You can sing your Christmas carols as much as you want, but you can’t expect everybody to follow along perfectly unless they have the lyrics in front of them. Communicating a message is fine to get employees onboard, but you will also need a plan they can follow through on. Create goals that involve ongoing projects and real issues. When applied to practical problems, learning retention has been shown to increase dramatically in a short time frame.
5. Take care in building each layer of your snowman
Considering friends, family, and co-worker tastes while holiday shopping is a no-brainer. Each come with their own level of comfort, appropriateness, and expected costs. Involve every layer of your organization and pay attention to their needs.
While organizational change is universal in its message, each layer should be accounted for differently. Educating senior executives at each layer allows for a cascade effect throughout the organization. As Gartner analysts explain “Companies need to take change management seriously. Gain board-level support and involve the full spectrum of department representatives to gather requirements”.
6. Treat changes you manage as a Holiday season, and not as a single day
As much as we wish that our Christmas dinners were as simple as hitting a timer on the oven and waiting, we know that there is a lot of preparation involved beforehand. In fact, preparation will take the majority of the time. Managing change is similar. Pre-planning will take much more time and effort, but it will pay off when the transition is smoothed out.
7. Don’t get snowed in
The holiday season is undeniably a stressful time of the year. Whether it is managing your gift budget, dealing with cooking mishaps, or visiting unsavory relatives, many unexpected things can occur. Prepare yourself for unexpected changes. One thing to keep in mind is that change is often due to external factors. Trust the plans that you have already designed, and adapt to the growing situations. You can mitigate the risks of unexpected changes through continual reassessment of your plans. Keep your universal message intact, but be ready to adopt new transformations.
By following these 7 tips, you can hopefully have a stress free holiday season, and extend that merriment to the rest of the New Year.
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