The reality is, no matter how successful you are, you can always do something better. For example, you can improve a product, streamline a process, or optimize a service offering.
Factors like evolving market conditions, new competitors, and new technologies only add urgency. Failure to change allows more nimble competitors to get ahead. Planning for change and making it part of your culture makes it easier to adapt and stay competitive and agile.
Of course, change presents a challenge, doesn’t it? We don't like it.
We prefer the comfort of our routines. This preference can make it difficult to change. As a result, even the most inspired business leaders in companies of every size face a path full of potential roadblocks when proposing a change.
A defined change management process overcomes these challenges.
The key for you is to make adapting to change part of your company culture. Even if you do, you're still likely to face three common issues related to change.
Let’s take a closer look by:
A change management process doesn't need to be complicated. It should, however, be comprehensive. The more detailed it is, the greater your likelihood of success.
Do a quick online search, and you will find a variety of different change management models. The models may look different, but they really aren't. Successful change management processes follow the same general path. Differences exist only in the details.
Change management processes all rely on these same principles:
Every organization should also establish guidelines for ongoing review, analysis of results, and optimization.
As you go through it, though, you will encounter challenges. We've found the three most common are:
Few of us like change. And while that's ok, a business must evolve to remain agile and competitive.
Resistance to change can start anywhere in an organization. Executives may not want to spend money. Departments may not recognize broader organizational needs, as long as their system works. The result? Key stakeholders and decision-makers may not immediately see how the changes will benefit the organization holistically.
Further resistance can come from a change in the routine. Employees may worry about what might happen to their role and their job. Even after the change, employees may still resist if they feel new workflows make their jobs harder.
You need a multifaceted approach to overcome this hurdle.
Be transparent. Workers want to know the reason for the change, not just the high-level benefits it will provide. Acknowledging problems and explaining how this change will solve them can build buy-in and cooperation.
Provide ample training. An effective training program for new technology, workflows, and processes is vital for a smooth transition.
Get management and executives involved. Employees want to see leadership engaged and invested in the effort. When executives get involved, it shows that a clear plan is in place. It also improves communication and makes it easier for both managers and executives to respond to employee concerns.
Communication deserves extra attention. It's the area where many organizations stumble. Many businesses communicate value to their customers clearly, but they often struggle with internal communication with employees.
Common communication downfalls include:
Every change management plan should ensure clear, consistent communication across all channels to engage in a constructive conversation between staff and management.
Your communication should also include essential details. Tell people when events will happen and what to expect. Successful information communicates the correct information.
Fortunately, you can prevent communication issues with advanced planning. Make a communication strategy part of your change management plan. Detail who will do what. Determine a schedule ahead of time that includes the channels you'll use, such as:
And don't forget in-person communication through meetings and impromptu conversations!
Also, give employees avenues to share their concerns and address those concerns regularly.