Organizational change is a fact of business life. Nothing stays the same for long periods of time so the ability to lead and adapt in times of change is vital for business owners and leaders. New opportunities, new products, new business initiatives, new owners are some of the moments that can signal change. Many of these change efforts require significant adjustments in how employees get work done.
Change is never easy. More than half the times change efforts fail or are derailed. Failure of such could results in one or more of the following outcomes:
- Low productivity
- Low morale
- Unmet expectations
- Wasted time / budget
- Increased employee turnover
Change is more often resisted than supported in organizations because people are rarely given the chance to understand the reason for the change. First ever step you have to make is to identify the need for change.
The need for change exists in all organizations, if your organization doesn’t innovate and change in accordance with market needs and demands then it will most likely fail. There are 3 things to focus when you are identifying the need for a change.
- Current customers – what needs to change to better serve your current customers?
- Potential customers – what needs to change to create new customers?
- Corporate culture – what needs to change to better serve your workforce and improve resources so they can influence items one and two above?
When leading a change there are four typical responses to change.
- Those who view change as a personal attack: on their role, job, and responsibility.
- Those who are neutral, they will not directly oppose change as they will just go with the flow.
- Those who oppose all changes, these types of people remain in stealth and try to derail change by using their influence on others, therefore they need to be identified early as possible if you hope to succeed.
- Those who embrace changes, they also need to be identified sooner to give momentum and enthusiasm to the change initiative.
Once you identified these types of people you have to involve all of them. Proper messaging and involvement can convert even adversaries into allies.
And finally here are some key points that need validating before you take on the change initiative:
- The change initiative must be aligned with the company values, vision and mission.
- The initiative should provide unique competitive advantage.
- You should validate proof upon credible research that this initiative is worth taking.
- Identify the risks; all initiatives must include risk management provisions.
- Change initiatives should be considered as a project and be deliverable on a schedule.