Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Five Aspects of Change Management

Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes, and the purpose of change.

Change management is the overarching umbrella that encompasses extensive business planning, empathetic communications, and discovery of concerns/objections / potential points of failure, developing a shared vision, addressing fears and resistance, communicating valid and compelling reasons for cooperation. Change Management is no longer just a few business initiatives, but an ongoing digital capability which enables the strategy implementation. Here are five aspects of Change Management.

The management mentality aspect: With the fast pace of change in today’s digital dynamic, the change shouldn’t be just some random initiatives with very low success rate, it needs to be built in as an ongoing business capability. However, too many organizations are mechanistic with command and control hierarchies, get stuck with the static mindset and comfort zone for too long. Hence, there is a critical mindset that needs to change, and that is the mindset of management, to ensure change not only possible but also not fluffy, it is embedded into the business culture - the collective mindset, to lubricate the digital flow and strategy implementation. It is the time for the change when silo thinking becomes the very obstacle to achieving business effectiveness and static mindset of management try to control the things that you cannot control because change is simply inevitable and progression is unstoppable. It is time to change when the opposite of critical thinking, such as reflexive thinking, group thinking, mindless, etc., becomes the mainstream thinking themes in the organization because it means that the organization gets stuck at the low level of maturity, facing the huge danger of business pitfalls to failures.


The emotional aspect: Emotions are very important as change is a personal thing. There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives, change or business transformation. It’s the TIME for changes when you see the negative emotions (ONR - Objections, Negativity or Resistance). People like to change, but do not want to be changed and there is the difference. Change inertias are often caused by negative emotions or ineffective performance management. Fear of change happens at both personal and organizational level, fear of disruption, the existence of chaos. From emotional aspect, people need to feel safe, to overcome their fear, to be convinced that the new solutions are better than the old ones. When faced with change, we all go through the phases - denial, resistance, exploration. and acceptance. So it is important to try to find ways to make people feel involved in the design and implementation of the change. The more transparent about a change effort, the less uncertainty, and consequently less fear, the change management will be more effective. There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety because there are different psychological perspectives.


The attitudinal aspect: Remember change management is a gradual process. To achieve desired change, an organization must create an environment that encourages change attitude, enables effective collaboration, share & promote ideas, and provide necessary incentives for employees. Be flexible- change will always involve failures as well as success. Change should be viewed as an opportunity, and Change Management needs to be people centric. Willingness to fail is an important factor which must be fostered by top managers. Failure is tolerated and even promoted within the company culture - the collective attitude. Change Management needs to be changed when necessary. Reinforce success but don't punish failures.


The behavioral aspect: The resistance that delays more than anticipated often comes from these areas of the organization where employees were informed rather than involved. It’s important to have the team own a process by bringing them in early and getting their involvement in creating the process. In order to execute a successful Change Management process, there is a need to delegate roles and responsibilities of the process, and have a strong honest communication plan in place. Make your plan flexible and implement changes based on staff feedback. During the whole process, make sure that all staff is aware of the plan/process, timely updated, and responsible for something. Make each individual feel responsible for the success of the plan, engage them actively and make sure that your new change proposal solves their current problems, and provide the better working environment. Hence, when the need for change becomes apparent, the management should turn the spotlight on measures and incentives as drivers of expected behavior, to both motivate changes and make the change sustainable.


The evaluation/measurement aspect: You can only manage what you measure. How do you design metrics to measure what changes and how these changes are measured? What are the relevant metrics and how can they be quantified and validated? Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now. Then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. Both require the necessity, to be honest, and to establish clear, understandable, and easily calculable metrics. The problem with many KPIs is that they are created and applied at a subordinate level without taking into consideration the possible implications on the organization as a whole. Change leaders and managers can also leverage balanced scorecard in measuring the outcome of the change. That metric needs to be "SMART" so people can see what the outcome will look like throughout their transition.

Changeability is one of the most critical strategic capabilities which underpin successful execution, and move the organization from efficiency to agility, from reactive buy-in to proactively enrolling and engaging, leadership is crucial in managing change smoothly. Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes, and the purpose of change.

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