It’s essential to explain the need of change management to stakeholders.
When obtaining executive support, it is especially important to make a strong case.
In other words, you have to explain why change management is important.
To do that – and effectively persuade leaders of the need of change management:
- Highlight the biggest benefits of change
- Describe the drawbacks of not changing
- Be honest about obstacles to change, budget requirements, and resource needs
To get executive support, it’s essential to make a solid case.
Below, we’ve presented a few ways to help you do just that.
Understanding the Need of Change Management
To make a case for change management, you should demonstrate both the positives and negatives.
The positive side – the ROI of change management – highlights the benefits of change.
The other side of your case will focus on the downside of not changing.
First, we’ll look at the positive side of organizational change:
1. Achieves Business Objectives
A change program is designed to solve a problem.
The first point to bring up is that the change program will solve that problem.
Inefficient customer relationship management, for instance, can be solved with CRM software.
Poor training results can be improved with e-learning software and updated training curricula.
The first benefit to highlight is the problem you are trying to solve.
But sometimes that is not enough to justify the cost of the change program.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep building out your case…
2. Improves Target Business Functions
Above and beyond the problem itself, the target business function will be improved.
This can have additional benefits besides solving a problem, such as:
- Increased efficiency
- Decreased employee frustration and customer frustration
- Faster throughput
- Increased output, productivity, and engagement
And so on.
3. Enhances the Workplace
Change initiatives involve extensive collaboration with employees and stakeholders.
And, when change managers fully commit to their objectives, the workplace usually improves.
In fact, a study by Google found that workplace improvement is the biggest benefit of any change program.
Of all the objectives they measured, this objective outperformed others by a large margin.
This type of improvement can have translate into other benefits, such as:
- Better workplace culture
- Happier employees
- Better employee metrics, as mentioned below
From a humanitarian perspective, it is always good to have a workplace that is enjoyable.
But make sure to highlight the business benefits as well – because business leaders are concerned with ROI.
Profit is another benefit of change, which results from the other reasons mentioned here.
A better bottom line, of course, is the biggest concern of executives.
In many cases, this can be difficult to prove.
However, even if you can’t prove it directly, it is worth mentioning.
After all, every business is in the business of profit, first and foremost.
5. Improves Employee Metrics
A better workplace, better tools, and solved business problems improves employee metrics across the board.
For instance, a successful change program will positively impact:
- Employee engagement
- Employee output and productivity
- Workplace satisfaction and happiness
- Employee retention
Among other things.
When possible, again, try to connect these benefits to the bottom line – ROI.
The Downside of Not Changing
Now, we will look at the downsides associated with not changing.
These reasons can be just as compelling as the benefits of change … sometimes even more so.
1. Missed Business Opportunities
Today’s world moves fast.
Businesses that don’t keep up will get left behind.
And if an opportunity is missed, it may never come around again.
If your change program targets a timely, fleeting opportunity, stress this in your message.
As just mentioned, getting left behind can be a danger.
Look at your industry and identify competitors who are moving quickly.
Or, if your business is moving too slowly, point this out.
The business world can be unforgiving, to say the least … so emphasize the importance of innovation, speed, and evolution.
And point out what will happen if you don’t keep up.
3. Stagnant, Aging, or Deteriorating Workplace
Businesses that don’t change also run the risk of becoming too “old fashioned” or stagnant.
Not necessarily in terms of worker age – but also in terms of business practices, culture, and work processes.
A company that is out of sync with its environment can suffer in a variety of ways, including impacts to:
- Brand image
- Interactions with customers or business partners
- Talent retention
- Workplace satisfaction
And so on.
4. Negative Impacts on Employee Metrics
The consequences of not changing can have negative impacts on the employees themselves, as hinted at above.
If, for example, your company continues to use obsolete software instead of modern software, you can expect certain consequences.
Possible consequences include:
- Lower employee efficiency and engagement
- Lack of skills development, which negatively impacts career development potential
- As a result of these, satisfaction and retention can dip
Naturally, such consequences are slow to manifest. And it is difficult to prove their cause.
But with the right employee feedback and data, you can make a solid case.
These problems all contribute – directly or indirectly – to poorer overall performance.
A company that doesn’t capitalize on its opportunities will:
- Miss out on opportunities
- Lose market share
- Become less flexible, more rigid, and out of sync with its business environment
This type of result can sound a bit over-the-top to some listeners.
However, it is a fact that many businesses have failed … precisely because they failed to change.
The need for change is real – but unless stakeholders understand that need, they won’t support change.
The reasons listed here should help you make a case for change and get that support.
Ideally, they will help you make a solid case for change, get the support you need, and effect real change in your organization.
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.