Every business must evolve and undergo organizational change to keep up with new technology, changing markets, and demands, etc but that doesn’t mean that change is easy or comes naturally. Change can solicit a multitude of emotional responses from members of your organization and if not addressed properly can have a negative impact on the success of the change initiative. While Change Management is a very in-depth topic – here are five of the top tips we’ve found for successful change management:
Good communication is essential in every aspect of an organization – while communicating and reporting to the stakeholders and team members is important, it is often forgotten that communication needs to be a two-way street. This is especially crucial in change management as change often provokes emotions in individuals and requires the correct response to help guide them from shock & frustration to acceptance. Each team member's response will be so different that there will not be a “one size fits all” message and you will need to tailor your response to every person.
Active listening is essential in this as change is accepted more positively if you solicit feedback and engage in a conversation with individuals rather than dictating and speaking to them. If your team does not feel a part of the change, they are much more likely to resist whereas if they feel they were heard and a part of the change initiative then they are much more likely to buy in. While everyone may not have a vote, they should have a voice. This means creating an open dialogue and active listening rather than dictating the change initiative.
In the beginning, stages when proposing change, we recommend starting at the top before mentioning or introducing it to any other levels of the organization. If employees sense leadership is displaying a lack of confidence or enthusiasm in the change initiative, it will be nearly impossible to earn support from other team members. Provide workshops and trainings to leaders of all levels in the organization to build champions from within – they will be your biggest asset as you move the change initiative through the different levels of the process.
It’s no secret that people can be wary of change which leads to skepticism, fear, frustration, and even anger. We find the most effective way to work through this reaction is by offering transparency. You’d be surprised how much of an impact it can have on buy-in when team members feel they are getting the full picture of what is going on and why. It’s essential to keep everyone in the loop every step of the way. This is not exclusive to the positive aspects of the change – acknowledges the risks and challenges that may arise and how to plan to work through them.
You’d be surprised how enthusiastic a team can become for change when they realize how valuable their efforts are to the overarching mission and values of the organization. Remind your team of the mission and values and how this particular initiative contributes to it. This will foster a sense of purpose in understanding how their efforts link directly to the company’s growth and success.
Defining clear metrics for success at the start of any initiative is essential because it gives you the ability to measure if you are hitting your targets and desired outcome. Your team should get regular reports on the progress towards their targets – take this opportunity to celebrate wins and their contribution towards these achievements. Change always comes with growing pains but recognition of the results of their effort will make it much more likely your team stays motivated and keeps momentum towards the end goal!
For more information and techniques on Change Management, sign up for our webinar “Introduction to Change Management” on November 17th from 11am – 12pm.