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In today’s fast-moving external business environment, local and global economies, and technological advancement such as Industry 4.0, change is a must for organizations that want to keep pace with an evolving marketplace. This means that workplace processes, systems, and strategies must continuously change and evolve for an organization to remain competitive.

Embracing change is a requirement for growth. In business, as in life, this means needing to step out of our comfort zones to scale new heights.


But you need your people to see it as you do

However, the greatest challenge lies in bridging the gap between the need for change and employee acceptance of and adherence to that change. How can leaders manage change successfully when their people are not always excited to execute and go through this change?

Change inevitably affects your most important asset – your people. Losing employees is costly due to the associated recruitment costs and the time involved in retraining new employees and getting them up to speed. Each time an employee walks out the door and essential intimate knowledge of your business leaves with them.


How should leaders effectively manage organizational changes?

Having a well thought through change management plan can support a smooth transition and ensure your employees are well placed and guided through the change journey.


1. Clearly define the change, its process, and align it to business goals

This is a vital step that may seem obvious but is often missed out by many organizations.

Organizations that are most successful in implementing change clearly see their current position, envision where they want to go and are willing to follow a well- defined process to help them get there.

Construct a proven process that you believe will work for your organization and the nature of the change, while making sure to consider the roles of your leaders, managers and individual contributors. Ensure that this process includes rigor on alignment, implementation, and sustainment.

After defining the change and process required, it’s also essential to conduct a critical review against organizational objectives and performance goals to ensure that the change will carry your business in the right direction strategically, financially, and ethically. This step will also assist you in determining the value of the change, which will quantify the effort and inputs you should invest.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What do we need to change?
  • Why is this change required?


2. Consider all impacts, including the needs and perceptions of all stakeholders in the change process

Next, it’s important to determine the impacts of change at various organizational levels. Review the effect on each business unit and how it cascades through the organizational structure down to the individual.

At the minimum, the perspectives of employees, managers, customers, and partners should be considered before completing the overall plan. Fully thinking through how the change impacts everyone across the business and seeing the change through the eyes of stakeholders is valuable for preparation, planning, and enables better engagement because there is clarity around the outcomes needed by each group.

This information will then form the blueprint for where training and support are needed the most to mitigate the impacts.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What are the impacts of the change?
  • Who will the change affect the most?
  • How will the change be received?


3. Develop a communication strategy and effectively manage resistance

Determine the most effective means of communication for the group or individual that will bring them on board. The communication strategy should include a timeline for how the change will be incrementally communicated, key messages, and the communication channels and mediums you plan to use.

During the change process, resistance is a natural part of the process which is impossible to avoid entirely. Therefore, it’s important to effectively communicate with your employees and set the expectation for them to know that resistance is a normal part of the change, and it’s better to equip them to embrace it.

Let people know its okay to struggle with change, but the “struggle” needs to be timebound. Create forums for people to challenge the change, discuss the change, and then be engaged in the solutions for successful changes they can make in their roles.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • How will the change be communicated?
  • How will feedback be managed?


4. Provide effective training to support your employees through the change

With the change message out in the open, it’s important that your people know they will receive training, structured or informal, to teach the skills and knowledge required to operate efficiently as the change is rolled out. Training could include a suite of micro-learning online modules, or a blended learning approach incorporating face-to-face training sessions or on-the-job coaching and mentoring.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What behaviors and skills are required to achieve business results?
  • What training delivery methods will be most effective?


5. Maintain a POSITIVE Attitude through the change!

Your attitude as a manager or supervisor will be a major factor in determining what type of reaction and response is exhibited by your employees. Your attitude is the one thing that keeps you in control.

Change may be stressful and confusing for your people throughout the organization. It’s therefore important for you to remain upbeat, positive and to foster motivation in your key stakeholders going through change with you.

During such times of transition and change, try to compensate your employees for their extra effort. Write a brief note of encouragement on their paychecks; leave an affirming message on their voice mail; take them aside and tell them what a great job they’re doing; be a listener to their comments and suggestions. Finally, try to instill organizational change as a personal challenge that everyone can meet… with success!




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