Let’s be honest, in business, change is inevitable. However, it’s how an organization navigates through the change that really matters. Think about it this way, when you talk to anyone about change, they traditionally have a negative perspective or connotation. However, there is one reality that many have yet to accept; one that’s considered an ancient adage.
Change is the only constant in life – Heraclitus
At one point or another, a business will have to navigate through some degree of change. Now, there can be a wide range of different circumstances that coincide with the concept of “change” in an organization. For example, some common circumstances may be:
- Adding new technology
- Restructuring of an office environment
- Change of leadership
- Merging workgroups
- Adding or changing employee trainings or meetings
Whatever the change may be, how a business navigates through the process is what will determine a successful adoption of the change. Organizations that are stagnate and don’t evolve often crumble. Those that change and evolve will positively transform and thrive.
The situation is, in an organization, the few that lead are significantly outnumbered by the vast number of people who can’t control the change. Any change management consultant would agree that each individual has some degree of influence or impact on how well the change is received. In addition to this, one would also agree that there are key change management principles that can help an organization thrive during change.
In today’s article, we are going to share with you five change management principles that should be considered during any form of change in and organization – if you plan to thrive.
One of the most important principles to include in any form of change is transparency. Transparency is closely intertwined with the moral ideology of truthfulness and setting the example of an honest workplace. The leadership and management of a business should clearly and consistently communicate with all employees, at all levels.
Often, leadership teams fail to consider how many individuals are truly impacted by change – and how few have control over that change. To address this, leaders can communicate with clear, consistent, and honest information about what’s transpiring before a change takes place, during the change, and even after. This effort builds trust and eases the adoption process.
In addition, it’s vital for organizations to take the time to explain the “why” behind the change, even if employees may not like or agree with the change. Certainly there may be confidentiality or legal issues that may prohibit leaders from full disclosure. However, to the extent leaders are able to share information, transparency across the organization will ease the hurdles of the change.
Have you ever heard whispers around the organization about an impending change? Rumors can bubble and percolate well before the change takes place or clear information is conveyed by leaders. As with most rumors, there may be a sliver of truth to it, but the potential to cascade disruption, fear, and panic is significant. The result can negatively impact productivity and morale.
This is why deliberate communication is important to executing change. It’s critical for an organization to develop clear, consistent, and wide-reaching communications across multiple channels in the organization before, during, and after a planned change. In many cases, change management consultants will link and unite their strategic approach with the communications team in the organization.
When outlining a change management approach, it’s beneficial to incorporate a communications strategy as part of it. In addition to traditional communications efforts such as email, other tactics can include videos by leaders, town-hall meetings among all workgroups, and consistent dialogue among managers and teams to engage information and answer questions.
Yes, change is necessary. And although employees may not always understand or agree with the change taking place, it’s beneficial for leaders to consistently share what is happening and provide an opportunity for questions. The more that clear and consistent communication takes place, the greater the opportunity for employee understanding and adoption.
It’s important to understand that, in order to thrive during any moment of change as an organization, action steps must be put into place prior to change taking place. In most cases, change management consultants would agree that businesses that thrive in change are often those whose culture and company structure supports change.
One of the best action steps that any organization can put into practice is establishing meaningful relationships with employees. When leaders take the time to build quality working relationships with employees, they establish trust and confidence with their teams. This collaborative culture, built on trust, is needed to support constant change. As a result, employees have a greater propensity to support and positively navigate change. In organizations with collaborative and supportive relationships among employees and leaders, there is a greater likelihood of change adoption.
4) Make Change in Steps
We all know that Rome was not built in a day. While this is an overused French adage, it not only speaks volumes, it teaches organizations a valuable lesson. When planning to roll out any change in your business, it’s not going to happen in a day. In fact, for some organizations, it can take months or even years to completely enact the change. To navigate constant change, it’s imperative to understand this time-honored principle at a deeper level and strategize accordingly.
Most strategic consultants or change management consultants often help organizations craft a project calendar to phase through the change. During each phase, celebrate even the small wins and successes. Deeply rooted in this change management principle is the importance of communication. So, take the time to communicate with team members and ensure everyone is in the know to the project timeline.
5) Creating an Agile Company Culture
In a state of content change, it’s imperative for businesses to be agile. For an organization to be agile, it begins with the culture and the structural foundation of a company. When a company’s culture is hierarchical, rigid, and lacks proper communication, not only will they lack the flexibility to navigate the change, the change itself will be counter-productive to the cause.
In any given moment, we have two options:
to step forward and grow or step back into safety.
When an organization is based upon the ideologies of being agile and flexible, it makes it easier to adapt to change as it happens. In some respects, change management consultants often agree that an agile organization is often one that does not wait for change, they expect it. Such ideology is the foundation of continuous improvement. A continuous improvement culture understands that change is not a surprise – and that change is truly constant and anticipated. To improve efficiency, even the smallest changes can make a big impact.
In addition to the four previous principles of change, creating an agile culture will provide the nimbleness needed to navigate and communicate change across an organization. A culture of flexibility will provide stability through change with a greater likelihood of employee adoption of the change.
Are You Struggling with Constant Change in Your Organization?
Change is not always easy for every organization – and not every organization thrives through change. However, if your organization is planning to rollout new technology, enact a change in leadership, or plan a new way to train employees, it’s important to have a plan in place.
Eliciting the professional support of a change management consulting firm, like RTG Solutions Group, can help plan the phases of the change and chart a successful course for your organization. Save your organization the struggle through change and contact the change management experts at RTG Solutions Group.