Many companies start off great. The business owner or CEO studies the market, understands it well and use their expertise to take off at a running start. But since all good things come to an end, this is simply not enough. Business leaders should always anticipate and accept change as a constantly evolving part of the company. This is also why often times, organisations that once used to be the best in their industries suddenly begin declining until they are eventually forced to either close down or find a way to change their technique.
Giva has compiled 10 tips from 4 renowned experts in the field on how organisations can leverage change management (CM):
In his blog Optimal Service Management, Stuart Rance, who is an expert in IT service management, writes about how businesses can reform their approach and attitude towards CM:
Do not make the change approval process the biggest hurdle
Employees should not be forced to put all their focus and effort into getting their proposals authorised. Rather, their attention should be on perfecting the change itself. Change frequently comes to a standstill because of the silo barriers erected by staff members and change advisory boards (CAB). Rather than both sides working together towards innovation, rejected proposals and delayed approvals cause disagreements and discord. This undoubtedly decreases the chances of any potential improvements happening.
Do not impose strict control over small standardised changes
Organisational policies often prevent employees from deploying insignificant changes without approval, but this does not have to be the case. Rance believes that pre-approving low-risk changes or appointing a person of authority to oversee them faster than the CAB typically would, simplifies and speeds up the implementation process.
Braden Kelley, a well-known author and speaker in CM, provides a three-step process to maximise the success of change:
Assess whether your business is ready for change
In this step, Kelley asks that executives take a step back and assess the situation and availability of resources prior to embarking on the change journey. Major changes to an organisation cannot be started only to realise that they exceed the allocated budget or resources. Preparing a plan or road map for the success of the initiative can ensure that this does not occur.
Reform your organisation's view towards change
The second step states that the way people view CM in relation to project management is incorrect. Kelley believes that project management is a subset of CM rather than the latter being a unit of the former. This approach will change the core mentality of the organisation and give CM its due right as a vital aspect of business.
Have a comprehensive approach towards the matter
The final step in Kelley's approach is to widen your perspective of the proposed change. This includes bringing in professionals you think can help you succeed, identifying possible risks, obstacles and the available budget you have for the initiative.
John Kotter, a Harvard professor, author and entrepreneur, is a firm believer that as many people as possible should be behind the change:
In order to succeed, you should create a feeling of how imperative the change is
This is because the initiative needs to be supported and propelled forward by a large number of people. If people are not emotionally and mentally invested in the change, they will not have the passion and drive that helps projects to succeed.
Building momentum to prove the abilities of your project
This is also critical in winning over staff that may have initially felt doubtful of its success. Doing so will provide the change with more support and keep pushing it forward.
Make sure the change does not become just a short phase of temporary success
This points back to the reasons behind business failure. Before implementing the change, you must be sure that it will last and continue to benefit the business for as long as it is there. Of course this also means that the change must be well maintained to ensure that it remains a business asset.
Kate Nasser, a keynote speaker and a coach in leading change, pays close attention to the people side of change:
It is vital to avoid viewing a change as a weakness
Often times, people misinterpret changing direction to be a lack of direction, which is undoubtedly not the case. This opinion stems from the need to be in constant control of things, something that is not definite during the change process. Additionally, the difficult challenges that result from change initiatives make people dislike it. Nasser writes that instead, people should view change as an open acceptance of development in business, and the remarkable ability to evolve without falling behind.
Inspire change in your employees by involving them from the very beginning
Staff members should be provided with the opportunity to voice their concerns and work together to form solutions. This also combats the previously mentioned issue of fearing loss of control by providing them with a sense of accomplishment and helps them truly believe that change for the better is possible.