In our everchanging globalized economy, organizations deal with continuously shifting conditions in their external or internal environments. These changes can be a result of shift in market conditions, change in customer demands, rapidly changing technologies, variations in economic conditions, emerging competition or self-induced changes.
Businesses must continually reevaluate their business model and ask questions about the appropriateness of their business strategies and tactics. No matter what the cause of change is, organizations must adapt to the change or they cannot survive. Change management is adapting to changes, ensuring that the organization responds to the constantly changing environment and realigns itself to achieve long-term strategic objectives.
However, this process is not simple. The problem with change is that people who have been doing things a certain way for a long time, do not encourage suddenly being told they have to do things differently. To add to that, change is usually accompanied by uncertainty and poor communication.
Levels of Change Management
On basis of how effectively we can manage change, there are three levels:
1. Individual Level:
At an individual level, be aware that when people are open to adopt new concepts and support change, they become very resilient. Individual change management is the understanding of change regarding:
- What needs to be done
- Why it is required
- What we need to do to be successful
In conclusion, to drive change successfully at an individual level, we need to understand what will help our end users or employees make a positive transition from current state to the future state, what we need to communicate, and to whom, in what manner and at what point. Please note what we need to communicate goes beyond just teaching them new skills and providing them training manuals.
2. Organization or Project Level:
Implement a systematics process at the project level which supports those who are responsible for effective implementation of the new processes. Here are a few steps on how to drive change within projects:
- Establish clear objectives
- Communicate clearly what the goal is
- Train champions on how people need to change from the current state to the future state and how you intend to make the transition smooth for them
- Make a customized plan of action to boost employee’s awareness
It is impossible to bring about an organizational change if we do not have our employees’ buy-in or the employees feel like they are not a part of the decision to change. They should be involved on every step of the way.
Certainly once individuals and teams are open to adapting the new routines and new processes, they will embrace the organizational strategy further if the leadership utilizes their suggestions and take their advice on board.
3. Enterprise Level:
The final step is the successful implementation at an enterprise level where we embed changes into our core values. At this level, change becomes a part of the culture, processes, and policies.
Why Change Management is so important?
When there is not a strategic change management plan, organizations can easily face employees’ resistance that can be caused by some of the following reasons:
- Individuals are concerned how the change impacts them
- Information vacuum creates a sense of insecurity
- Low tolerance for change
- Disagreement over the need and advantages of change
In order to minimize the impact of resistance, change needs to be managed early and effectively. With a change management strategy in place, organizations can improve teamwork, make sure that all employees can work together, increase the overall business performance, and reduce cost of re-work.
VNEXT Approach to Effective Change in a Complex Situation
With COVID-19 and state of shock and panic, individuals in leadership and executive roles at VNEXT IQ communicated immediately what was or could be involved, what the proposed change was, how the process would be managed, and what the organization was doing to help the team accept change, act decisively and demonstrate momentum while processing agile requests. Based on our experience, here are a few suggestions on how to respond to a critical, fast-paced change:
- Communicate the threat posed if change is not accepted
- Embody the change and lead by example
- Make sure the organization is aligned to the new vision
- Involve your team in decision-making
- Minimize uncertainty by communicating more frequently
- Establish clear team and individual goals
- Keep explaining the reasons to change, and be determined but flexible.
- Look for advice and support from individuals who have been through the change management process before
- Hire specialists
- Be as transparent as possible; this is crucial to gain your employees’ trust and confidence in your ability as a captain to navigate the ship through the storm
And most importantly, remember that change is less scary when you are driving it considerately and prudently
Finally, I would like to share with you some great examples of successful change management strategies as well as useful resources for you to access to.
- Dave Lewis at Tesco and his strategic review to change Tesco
- Moyer green at Royal Mail and how she shook up the organizational culture and structure at Royal Mail to prepare the business for privatization
- Steven elope at Nokia and his famous burning platform memo stating need for change
- Change management adoption and best practices here.