There’s that old saying about change being the only constant. The thing is that it’s true and that means that you need to be prepared to deal with it whether it’s managing change of processes, technologies, or goals.
You know by now that things can develop fast. You might consider yourself to be in a slower-moving industry but something, like a pandemic, can move in at speed. That’s why you need to be familiar with the principles of implementing change so you can take action worthy of a good leader even at short notice.
It’s easy to be put off when you come across alarming figures that suggest 70% of change programmes are not successful because employees don’t get on board. First of all, remember that not all change is the same. Change doesn’t have to be a negative thing or something that sweeps in overnight. It is often made of small adjustments. Depending on the level that you are dealing with will guide your approach. You might also want to adjust your definition a bit. Ask yourself are you trying to control the change or help people to adapt? Trying to control something that is constantly shifting can be a thankless task but guiding it makes you more flexible in meeting your outcomes.
Levels of Change
Change happens at three levels – individual, project and company level. If it’s a big change then there will be impacts to be managed at all levels. So, what will influence a successful outcome to change? It’s certainly not a case of one size fits all but there are principles to managing change that apply across the board.
What most of the change models do have in common is that they are people centred. And this is absolutely the way it should be. Individual people are the ones who are carrying out the processes who will need to change their behaviours.
For this reason, communication is absolutely key if you want a successful outcome.
It’s easy for two people to miscommunicate, usually as a result of making assumptions. So, imagine the potential across an organisation for misunderstandings. If you don’t already now is the time to start updating your employees about company matters. If you already do this that’s great but make sure that it’s effective. Consider this: what do your employees know about your current strategy? Or innovation? And where do they actually get their information from?
All change happens at an individual level
One of the important things to remember is that most people process change by considering how it will make things different for them. So, while you might be really excited about a move to new premises, updating software or a bold new direction, they will be thinking about where they will be working and how it could change their commute.
Consider the impact
Think about employee reactions in advance and work out who is likely to be adverse or struggle with the change. Are some groups justified in their attitude because they know it will impact negatively on them? There’s always a temptation to try and be upbeat but this can make you appear to not be listening to their concerns. For example, is it that the new computer system is hard to use, or does it makes create uncertainty around what the roles of individuals are and what their associated standing is.
Preparing for change
Being able to cope with change is one way of working to future proof a company. It’s something that it’s worth investing in and bear in mind that your approach can take many forms. Our case studies highlight the different ways that change can be prepared for and supported from mentoring to workshops to a review.
An easy way to get started is to book a free FOG review. We’ll go through the different areas of your business and identify where improvements can be made. Change is always coming so start to prepare for it today
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