Change management is an instrumental philosophy in the business world. Its relevance has taken on a new identity since technology has transformed multiple sectors.
It is now a permanent feature within most organizations, and given the ever-evolving digital realm, change management appears set to stay. Innovative technologies are rendering old business models redundant, especially since capital flows and investor demands are less predictable.
Firms have become more sophisticated with their change management systems, with an increasing awareness of the role culture plays. The focus now extends beyond the execution of change, to making sure change processes become embedded in the organization.
When a change management system isn’t planned properly, it can result in wasted resources and time, while diminishing morale. Imagine dedicating multiple hours to a project only to see it fizzle out?
This is one of many reasons why change is rarely long-term. Before we help you avoid this outcome on route to implementing a good change management system, let’s first look at some reasons why organizational change fails:
- Change fatigue – People feel exhausted when they’re required to make multiple changes at once. This is worsened by change initiatives that are poorly thought out or rolled out quickly with little preparation.
- A Lack of Skills – Companies can lack the skills necessary to introduce a change management system that lasts. They lose heart, and fail to premeditate issues before they occur. When companies set unrealistic targets that can’t be met, the blame game begins. By investing in operational improvements, you can give staff the knowledge and cultural support they need.
- Insufficient Staff Participation – Low-level employees are of crucial importance, especially since they’ll mostly deal with the day-to-day implications of change. All staff should be given an opportunity to contribute to change, because they’ll feel part of the process and thus motivated to meet organizational goals. Otherwise, staff can suffer from insufficient communication and feel disconnected, while companies lose an opportunity to receive valuable input for their change strategies.
Now we’ve addressed three common problems with change management, let’s get to the three top principles of a good change management system:
Culture can be more important than a change management model. You can implement the best operational model in the world, but without a culture that’s willing to accept change, what good is it?
With transformational efforts, executives often fail to consider staff attitudes, perhaps because culture is considered a thing of the past when companies are trying to move on.
This is a blurred perspective, because legacy is a strong proponent of the present. Change managers focus on structural details and formal processes, forgetting it’s human connections with culture that influence change.
A good change management system makes the most of existing culture, drawing energy from it. By tapping into the way people behave, change initiatives can be aligned with current thinking, and visa versa.
This brings people to the forefront of change strategy, which helps get the attention of those affected by change.
Start From The Top Down
Though engaging all employees is beneficial, all successful initiatives start at the top. If executives set a good example, and constantly communicate the benefits of change, this will have a trickle effect where other staff feel compelled to follow.
After all, executives are some of the most influential people in an organization.
A great idea for executives is presenting a PowerPoint presentation to invested parties, promoting the importance of change. This will encourage staff to embrace goals, while giving them a chance to shape direction and be actively involved in the process.
Executives can develop a case for change with a positive attitude, while staff contribute valuable advice to make it work. Acting as a collaborative team, employees have a better chance of transforming their attitudes and devising plans with differing levels of hierarchy.
Make A Rational and Emotional Case – As One
We’ve already established how mid-level and frontline people can make or break a change initiative, supporting the notion of involving everyone in the process.
By incorporating advice you can capitalize on vast repositories of knowledge, addressing issues which are difficult to observe from your viewpoint.
When your initiatives don’t make emotional connections with employees, it’s difficult to engage the hearts and minds of your team. Make them feel part of something meaningful and you’ll receive devotion to your change management system.
A personal connection can be formed by drawing from cultural history and traditions, with symbolic gestures that unite staff of all ranks.
This can be introduced in line with the company’s core identity, rather than abandoning it all-together. Emotional connections make a huge difference when facing challenging environments.
Implement a change management system that makes a real difference, preferencing long-term development with short term wins that keep everyone on the same page. Together, performance will improve and you’ll be onto something special!
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.