If you’ve ever been involved with an organization that has undergone a period of significant change, you know how tough it can be. The process of change can be incredibly challenging and stressful for all parties involved — and managing organizational change effectively is the key to getting through the transition intact. For seven tips on how to manage organizational change effectively, see this article.
1. Initiate the change with a strategy
If you want to implement a new system or process at your company, you must get your team on board with the idea. You can do this by clearly defining your strategy and explaining why this change is essential. Explain how the change will help improve the company and what you expect to get out of it. Is change good or bad?
Being able to process the options before you make a change to an organization is extremely important. Part of this process is to prepare the people involved with the decision to understand the benefits and potential problems of the proposed change.
Successfully creating change — be it organizational or otherwise — is about engaging people and getting buy-in. Likewise, your organization needs buy-in if you want to get it through the change hurdle. Building changes into the system slowly means that the changes will be more extensive in the scheme of things. Sometimes that can be a good thing — for example, when you’re building a new effect onto a video — but on other occasions, this can lead to new processes that aren’t adequately considered.
This is particularly important when it comes to organizational change. For example, it wasn’t long ago that companies could unroll one massive project on top of the rest of their projects; no one gave that a second thought. The internet has introduced a lot of complexity into the way we work. Unless organizations pay close attention to change, they’ll implement change using processes intended for other operations. So people within an organization need to be involved throughout the process. Often changing the way, we work requires us to retain a set of existing practices. For example, calling for the resignation of a support member at a point in the project isn’t necessarily the best way to start a new project.
2. Be clear about objectives
If your audience can’t tell what your goal is, then you’re not going to be able to achieve it. When writing, you need to state your purpose and why you’re trying to achieve it. And, when you’re performing a job, the aim is to get the job done quickly and easily. Clearly define your mission statement, and make it clear how you’re going to achieve it. Minimize distractions by creating a clear hierarchy with the most critical tasks at the bottom of the stairs. Finally, build in a Plan of Operations (PoO) to help manage the process.
Sometimes your audience will take your job and your company for granted, or for the apparent reason that they don’t understand what’s going on. Their concerns and questions can be challenging to understand, and distractions can be a real nuisance. To give your audience some structure, find out how they work, why they work the way they do, and what their goals are for them at work. This will help you formulate your message and prevent it from getting lost in the crowd.
When designing your mission, be as specific as possible. Include the social outcomes you want to see for your employees, the services you provide, and the proof that your initiative is a success story. When you’ve essentially written everything down, take a break. Don’t rush your message — if you know your mission is about justice. It only makes sense that the solution to discrimination would be a plan to eliminate it and make workplaces genuinely safe and accepting. Remember, you aren’t in this to sell — you’re in this to tell other people about what you do. At the bottom of the mission, list your customers’ names, contact information, and why this initiative is worth funding.
3. Acknowledge the past but look to the future
The past is the past, and it’s important to acknowledge it and learn from it, but it’s equally important to look to the future. If you’re constantly dwelling on the past, then you’ll never be able to move forward. If you’ve ever been part of an organization that has undergone a gradual change and improvement plan, then you know that the process can often be bumpy, but it’s never dull. During the learning phase, there are many factors that people need to manage actively, making the process complicated and time-consuming.
We now live in the era of continuous integration, file- and code-sharing, and the lesser-known factor that can make or break an organization is change management. When you look at reducing or eliminating the process, it’s all about getting the outcomes (studies, reports, etc.) vetted, thoroughly discussed, and then implemented. This is where change management is a significant factor. It’s vital that it can be detrimental to initiatives if there isn’t a protocol to deal with change. In addition, planning and implementing an effective change management process can reduce the level of issue and confusion you’ll encounter during the elimination of old techniques and how to keep the good ones. From a convenient and valuable point of view, not only can this reduce future implementation time, but it can also ensure that you’ve got a clear road map for getting the outcomes right.
4. Involve all relevant parties in the transformation
By surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, you’ll ensure no frictions, sticking points, or disagreements during the transition phase. This will allow you to stay focused on the tasks at hand — implementing a new strategy. We’ve developed a process for how you can ensure that you’re correctly incorporating stakeholders in the changeover of your business.
If you’re unsure whether an organizational issue is causing a problem within your business, first get in touch with the business owner. General business informality can be a huge stumbling block when complex changes have to be implemented. Instead, ask the business owner to explain in detail why something is occurring within their business. Communication is critical when making a changeover, and it may seem awkward to ask the business owner to reflect on things internally. You must hear from the business owner at a convenient time for them, rather than a time that overlaps with something else. And even if it’s a significant issue, it may not be something that can wait until a later date. Your time is precious — invest it wisely!
On the other hand, if you have identified a problem within the business, you can do a couple of things to determine whether it’s something stemming from the organization as a whole or whether it’s the result of a single individual. Following are handy tips for conducting organizational flaw detection: First, determine the size and makeup of the existing staff. Then, if the current team is small, ask the staff to elaborate on the problem they’re experiencing.
5. Prepare for resistance
Whenever you try to change something, you’re going to run into resistance. People don’t like change just for the sake of change. If you try to change something and people feel like you’re stepping outside of your role or stepping on their toes, then they’re going to resist that. Distilling your organizational culture down to its core principles is a way to deal with resistance, understand it, and then work your way through it successfully.
Put your organization’s core principles into one of your late-stage summaries, and incorporate them into your leadership model. As you transition, it’s a good idea to review your organization’s current structure and its organizational culture more generally. For example, look at your existing leadership structure, the governance model, and ethics and diversity policies. If there are any gaps in your organizational values, then provide support for them — including training and education.
Organizational change is never an easy task and its acceptance is highly dependant on the size of the organization. The amount of resistance increases as the company expands. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.