We’ve all heard the phrase “Change is the only constant”, and in this day and age, it couldn’t be more true. Organizations everywhere are battling to reorganize, implement new software systems, and start improvement projects. Unfortunately, just over 70% of all changes attempted by organizations fail.
Often times, it’s the way the change is handled by leaders and their lack of concern for the people within the organization, that ultimately lead it to demise. Sometimes the change gets put off for so long it becomes a crisis, and other times inadequate solutions are implemented from focusing too heavily on the short-term results.
At the end of the day, real results aren’t derived from a specific system or process, they are derived from people. So, in order for any change to be successful, the focus needs to be on ensuring people have the skill and the will to change. Organizations should aim to get the majority of stakeholders in the top right corner of the Skill v. Will diagram, meaning they have highly ranked skills and will to change.
Having the skills to change is important for obvious reasons, and in many cases, they can be built relatively easily with training. “Will” on the other hand is a bit trickier to build as it often requires people to change their mindsets and perceptions. However, both can be improved upon with the following three keys to effective change management:
Be transparent and keep communication consistent
People naturally resist change, especially when it’s imposed on them. The only real way to get an entire organization behind a major change initiative is to clearly articulate why the change is necessary and what the new expectations are. By keeping communication open, people are able to better prepare for the shift, making the transition much smoother. It’s also important to remember that listening is equally, if not more crucial to effective communication. This requires leaders to take all thoughts and ideas into account, implement the best solutions (regardless of who they come from), and give credit to whom credit is due.
Prepare for the pushback
Rarely does change happen without resistance. So, in order for any change initiative to be successful, areas of resistance need to be identified and dealt with quickly. Sometimes it takes an outsiders perspective to properly identify potential internal problems and mitigate risk.
Provide people with everything they need to be successful through the change
People always need knowledge, skills, and tools to properly perform their jobs, but this is especially true when jobs and environments are evolving. By communicating the broader vision and providing everyone with the training needed to be successful in their roles, decreases in productivity and resistance can be lessened.
In order to keep up with the ever-changing world, organizations of all types have no choice but to adapt. Maintaining a people-first change approach allows for better communication to occur, challenges to be addressed before they become crises, and for the best solutions to be implemented. If your organization is preparing to go through a major change, or if you’re in the middle of one and it’s not going as smoothly as you’d like, maybe we can help.