Implementing change is nearly always resisted at various levels in an organisation. In fact, only about one-third of such transformations succeed.
Many leaders misconstrue change management as a means to get their organisation to perform the way they ideally want it to, instead of harnessing the spirit of change.
The truth about implementing change management initiatives is that answers are not neatly arrived at in boardroom meetings held in glass cubicles.
What is important is asking the right questions at the right time of the people who are going to make change work, keeping an open mind and accepting the answers.
Leaders must constantly ask questions that help to design an ecosystem that allows for sustainable change. These include:
Where do we want to go?
How ready are we to get started?
What practical steps do we need to take?
How do we manage the journey?
How do we keep moving forward?
These questions benchmark the organisation prior to the process of change. Regularly review what you have done and are doing, and draw a realistic picture of what the outcome may look like.
This will give leaders an insight into how change initiatives evolve to accommodate the organisational culture and other influential factors. Couple that with energy, passion and consistency, and the right kind of change is inevitable.
Here is a step-by-step account of how leaders can oversee change management strategies:
Define the change
Know and understand down to the last detail what is it to be achieved and how. Every person involved and impacted by the implementation must have the same understanding of why and what is being done. There should be no room for interpretation.
Drive it with the right sponsorship
Ensure that the most influential employees jump onto the change bandwagon along with the leader. Being trustworthy and liked, they demonstrate the value and benefit of a leader’s change management initiatives. The right people on board will enhance acceptance of the concept and will be catalysts in driving change throughout the organisation.
Prepare for change at local levels
Find out who is getting impacted. Manage the people before, during and after the transition of the change. If the plans are not accepted, even the greatest of leaders face failure. Get acceptance by creating channels for employee expression and participation. Engaging all employees is crucial.
Also, gear up to educate consumers about the impact that this change will bring about in the company, the evolution of products and services if any, their customer experience and also the time-frame that the change is likely to take place.
Your customers, along with your employees, are your biggest assets. Ensure they are not caught unaware by changes you plan to implement.
Reinforce behaviours that support the change
It’s about doing the right thing and then making it easy for others to follow. Simplicity is vital for people to adapt a new and unique way of thinking and working.
Acknowledging efforts to enable change is equally important. Once leaders recognise that employees are aiding change management initiatives, these quickly catch on and get adopted throughout the organisation.
Leaders must spread the message and its importance right from its inception till the drive for change is complete. It is important for leaders and employees to constantly keep their eye on the ball and not lose sight of the objectives.
This is not a definitive guide, but a marker for change management initiatives to come to fruition. Enjoy the experience, be helpful and respectful, and you will get the support you need.