Organizational change is part of the natural flow at any business. Companies prepare, adapt and optimize, struggling to deal with market leaps and uncertainties. As daunting as it sounds, it can all be summed up to reviewing and modifying processes. But to be honest, it’s hard to successfully reach everything and everyone.
To help you avoid falling behind, we’ll show you 5 ways to stay ahead of your rivals and be more assertive in the process. But let’s start at the beginning with some important concepts:
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What is organizational change?
Organizational change basically are specific approaches to shift individuals, teams and organizations from their current state to a different one. It involves procedures, processes and technology to support stakeholders’ activities in relation to the environment or routine. In some contexts, organizational change refers to a corporate project encompassing multiple efforts towards a business envision.
Organizational change principles
Change processes are necessary to maintain company’s competitiveness. To stay in the game, managers must comprehend common issues related to this subject. Here are the “must-know” principles for leading organizational change:
- Define an overt plan with clear workflows including information about how things will be better once implemented.
- Go beyond fabric speech and chat about the business vision, involving all organizational tiers.
- Empower people so they can champion complex changes by leading tasks, connecting teams, organizing data and spreading news.
- Coaching and exchanging insights helps employees through change cycles by spreading knowledge at an individual level.
- Leaders must be accountable for the team, communicating the company’s expectations, feed backing and helping each interested party.
Types of organizational changes
This type of change is focused on redesigning procedures, workflows and processes. This may be done using digital tools and new or even old techniques to optimize outcomes. It is definitely the hardest endeavor, rethinking how everyone is working and how workflows are connected and impact everyone else’s results. The process of rebooting emphasizes a holistic vision of business objectives, like an enterprise process map with deliverables and expected results.
A method using small adjustments to achieve better results. In this process there are no big changes to existing structures or patterns. It is mostly used to increase or introduce small doses (mostly unplanned) of changes to a project, process, or procedure. This takes the place of any of the high risk in a large (usually planned) change. Trying out extra components in a product can be seen as a gradual change, where new components are built on top of the main product to experiment with new results or customer perceptions, for instance.
In this organizational change, results can be evaluated more accurately by simply separating each improvement and making adjustments as progress is made. This model is recommended to cut costs and time by enhancing efficiency through minor changes.
This type of change involves invention and improvement. Merging or discovering technological features that can also be explored commercially. It’s basically continuous improvement of technology, usually meant to reduce costs or serve a certain customer cluster. This new technology can push and integrate the current business framework with new concepts, processes or even other frameworks.
How to manage complex change?
To start managing complex changes, there are some issues that must be taken into consideration. Managers must build a measurable strategy, defining goals and indicators that attend stakeholders’ perspective of success. This must encompass and show continuous monitoring of tactical issues, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment, and cultural issues associated to work.
Furthermore, communication needs to happen seamlessly. Managers must align with the team and stakeholders on how the change will roll out. Most importantly, ensure that everyone clearly understands the benefits of the implementation and what’s at stake.
Team involvement alone is not enough; managers should empower employees. Anyone with an initiative that brings the team closer to better outcomes could be empowered to become a source of education, training or skill within the organizational change.
There will be resistance, so identify and prioritize any issues hindering the strategic direction of the organizational change. Adapt activities when necessary to pique motivation. And also, don’t forget to track the progress of the implementation and fine-tune as needed. Last but not least, try to be more human. Give personal advice (if required) to eliminate fears and emphasize trust issues.
1 – Align changes with goals
It’s vital to think and rethink in this alignment. The idea of improving the business process will be constantly reshaped, shortened, deleted from and added to. More than results, it needs to stay coherent with goals. Changes must carry your business in the right direction in a strategic, tactical, financial, and ethical manner.
2 – Follow up the impacts
Understand how changes impact each business team in the organization. Evaluate the effects and how they flow across other departments. Build a checklist with this information. Ask for opinions, suggestions and perceptions to align expectations. Now you can build a blueprint that can be used to evaluate and support issues to mitigate impacts.
3 – Revamp communication
As we all know, changes are journeys, so explore various means of communication. Identify which one is effective, shutdown the others and implement it. Make sure that it is bidirectional. This will bring groups and individuals closer to objectives. Yet remember to plan the timeline, channels, and media to show how changes will be incrementally communicated, encompassing subject, topics and doubts.
4 – Spread knowledge
It is important to quickly spread knowledge to raise stakeholder awareness. Rolling out changes can involve micro-learning, like online courses, training sessions or even in-company coaching and mentoring. Create a sequence of content to prepare everyone about the issues and difficulties ahead.
5 – Support structure
The mentorship of specialists or management counseling can help people work around issues when helping employees adapt to changes. This structure is crucial to emotionally prepare individuals for uncertain outcomes. Provided that teams are being supported, they will quickly gain proficiency. This will allow them to adjust their technical skills to achieve the desired results.
Organizational change examples
Competition: Your rivals might be developing new on-site services, so one good practice is to evaluate and decide if this is a good or bad change to implement.
Cost cutting: This change can emotionally affect the staff. It happens when the company identifies a redundancy or costly activity that can be bulked into automated flows.
System: The use of various methods like Lean Manufacturing System, Kanban, and Six Sigma to eliminate unnecessary issues and improve company outcomes.
In a process of change, learning from mistakes can improve your odds by mitigating errors and surprises. So don’t be fooled by the amount of complexity involved. Be transparent about processes and outcomes so that stakeholders can act and correct in advance. Remember that changes can go through harsh times and become serious issues. Try to mostly produce and follow clear metrics. Goals and KPIs must accurately show the current situation so that the company can stay on course toward its main strategy.