Managing Change

managing change

When innovation is at the heart of an organization, change and transformation are inevitable. In order to guide transitions, Change Management is a leadership skill that is paramount to success, whether the change involves specific departments or the organization as a whole. However, there are many obstacles so it’s important that business leaders effectively manage the change process in order to successfully avoid or resolve any resistance.

Embracing change is crucial to sustained business development and its ultimate success. If organizations didn’t respond to external factors such as new industry demands and fluctuating economic conditions, they wouldn’t be able to offer their customers effective products and services at acceptable costs. Similarly, not adopting new technologies and seizing opportunities for growth and expansion results in organizational and market stagnation at best. Also, unforeseen and sudden crises – whether internal or external – demand fast action and adaptability. Therefore, the ability to implement change is a fundamental process in order for organizations to be able to compete and survive.

 The Challenges

There are certain common difficulties organizations in all industries experience when attempting to implement change.

Insufficient Planning: As with everything, planning is key. Without a structured and targeted implementation plan, the process of change will be riddled with pitfalls and certainly doomed to fail.

Lack of Support: If there is opposition among senior management it will create numerous obstacles and difficulties. If they are not supportive they will thwart potential success, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Poor Communication: Vague communication of the benefits of the change can breed uncertainty and fear within the organization, and this will lead to resistance.

Employee Resistance: Employees can become comfortable and accustomed to old procedures and can be reluctant to change their work practices.  Also, fear of more responsibilities and increased workloads also inspires resistance among staff.

 The Solutions

Create a Precise Blueprint: Set out a structured plan of what needs to be changed and how this change will be achieved and make sure it is actionable. Include defined objectives and functions, set milestones and established how frequently this will be reviewed. This will ensure that your success is measurable every step of the way and allow you to resolve minor issues before they become major ones.

Communicate your Vision: Visionary leadership is crucial to optimize change management. Ensure that the change implementation is aligned with, and supported by, your organization’s core values. In this way you can demonstrate that change is not a negative thing, but resisting it is. When people see the value of the change they will be more likely to transition smoothly.

Clarify Expectations: If every member of the organization has been informed of exactly what will take place, and the benefits it will bring to the company, they are more likely to get on board. Be sure to outline clear expectations and provide training if necessary. This will ease the transition by increasing morale and illuminating any falsities.