The business landscape can never be the same again; not after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, not after technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and not after digital transformation that took the business world by a storm in 2021. The time has come for you to prepare, support, and help your teams, individuals, and the organization to change.
It’s time for effective change management; 2022 should bring along organizational restructuring, more technology evolution, better response to cybercrimes and crises, improved customer experience, and higher competitive pressure. If you are not prepared for effective change management, your business may lose its relevance on the world stage.
If it’s ordinary change management you have in mind, then you will focus on how personnel and teams are affected by change initiatives within the organization; if you want to embark on organizational change management (OCM), then your change management strategies must focus on the totality of organizational change of your entire company or business.
If you embark on change just because others are doing it, you will be following the bandwagon effect; employees effort and resources will be wasted; however, if you have well-spelled out change management strategies, there will be a purpose and focus as to the direction, way, and manner you want the change to proceed. What benefits you want to realize from the change, the risks, and potential resistance you may face from employees will be taken into consideration before coming up with the plan.
Change management strategies ensure smooth and unhindered transitions. Everybody that has a role to play to ensure an efficient change process knows what to do at any point in time.
Changes are unique and come with different challenges; change management strategies must, therefore, focus on the different forms of risks and processes they entail. Whatever form the change is meant to take, employees, customers, and processes will be affected; you must also think about the terms of adoption and the rate of utilization.
While no two changes are the same, you must have a template for creating your change management strategy and input whatever you may consider necessary. You can use the following steps to guide you through.
1. Map out the features of the change
The following questions can help to come up with an effective change management strategy for the particular change you want to embark on:
Sincere answers to these questions will go a long way in ensuring that you come up with a better direction and greater intent about your change management strategy.
2. A comprehensive assessment of your organization
You need a thorough knowledge of your organization; change management strategy must take into consideration areas that can impede your change momentum. Aspects such as the history and organizational culture are very important factors that hinder any change; you must also specify why this change is necessary at this time.
3. Developing your change management strategy
If you have effectively and truly answered the questions raised above, you can then proceed with your change management strategy. Your change management strategies need to include the following:
Your strategy must comprehensively spell out who does what; you will need to specify who will be in the project team as against who will be in the change management team. It will make an efficient workflow if you build a strong bond between both teams to ease frictions that can retard or hinder progress.
The best thing you can do is to have a change manager in the project team, constitute a centralized change management team to work closely with the project team, or assign the responsibility of change management to a member of the project team. Whichever of the options you choose, you must clearly mark out who is responsible for the distribution of logistics and resources to avoid stalling the change management program.
You or the CEO must have to authorize, initiate, or promote the change, but change does not begin and end with one person; you need leaders, stakeholders, and managers that will form the sponsor coalition that will actively participate in ensuring the success of the change. Building the sponsor coalition falls on the individual in your organization that initiates the change, and it must cut across sections and departments.
The leaders you pick must be from sections that the change will impact directly, as they are the ones that will have the greatest input and bring employees in their sections to collaborate with employees from other sections. Communication is of high essence and very paramount to the success of your change program.
Most often, you come across instances where employees resist any change initiative; this may stem from the fear that they may have to be laid off, especially where they may find it difficult to adopt the necessary training. In some other instances, employees who have fixated their minds on a rigid organizational culture tend to counter anything they consider new and not in line with what they believe is the culture of the organization. Anticipating these pockets of resistance and including measures to mitigate such into your change management strategies will go a long way to ease the frictions when they arise.
The following questions may help you to anticipate and prepare for resistance from employees:
Once you have established the potential sources of resistance, you take measures to proactively tackle them before they arise.
Your change management strategies will position your organization to effectively redefine and/or redirect budgets, human, technological, and material resources, business processes, supply chains, and your general operations.