Change management is fundamental to the development of a company because it tends to the needs of the team. You might be tempted to regard change as an event, but in fact, it is a process and a very intricate one at that. The effects of change need to be controlled and coordinated. Otherwise, change can become corrosive and affect the wellbeing of the company.
Implementing change management can prove to be quite tricky because each step of the process has to be adapted to the people in the team and their specific needs. The leader needs to create a well-balanced strategy in order to help the team adapt to the current state of the company.
We have put together a list of tips and tricks that are extremely useful for helping team members cope with the transformations in the workplace. But in order to fully grasp the utility of these steps, we should start with the basics, just to clarify any inaccuracies.
What is Change Management Anyway?
In the fast-paced world of business, companies need to adapt to numerous changing situations in order to survive. This brings about a continuous state of transformation that the employees need to keep up with.
When faced with change, people react very differently. While some might immediately panic and reject the new conditions, others might be entirely indifferent to them. Neither of these situations is desirable because both types of people would provide disappointing performances.
The ideal situation is when an employee is excited about the brand new things in the workplace and is, therefore, ready to embrace them. The aim of change management plans is to make all the people in the workplace excited about the new elements.
According to Prosci, the leading company in change management research, it is defined as “the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve a required business outcome“.
The Basics of the Change Management Process
Change is a process that needs to be managed throughout every step. In order to do so, the team leader needs to create a strategy that is personalized to the needs of his team. This change management plan needs to include the following phases, as each of them is crucial for a successful outcome:
The team leader is able to predict, at least to a certain extent, the effects on the team that the changes will bring about. Therefore, he has the chance to get the team ready to deal with the changes as best as possible.
1. Develop a plan according to the internal objectives that need to be met.
The leader will develop a plan according to his predictions regarding the effects of the upcoming changes, but he will always have the company’s objectives in mind as well. These will serve to set the time frame of the change management strategy.
2. Point out to each member of the team exactly what he has to do.
Once the plan is completed, the leader needs to provide personalized instructions to every member of the team. These need to be clear but detailed so that the employees feel assured that the change might bring about a positive outcome. Furthermore, the team needs to know what to expect, so it is up to the leader to be as supportive as possible.
3. Assign a change management liaison from within the team.
This step is extremely important because it establishes communication between the team and the leader. The change management liaison will gather feedback about the changes and communicate it to the leader so that the plan can be adjusted according to needs and preferences of the team.
Phase 2 – Managing Change
Every leader knows that certain drawbacks are to be expected when a plan is implemented. As such, he needs to analyze the response to the changes and expand it so that it covers the newly discovered issues.
1. Implement the plan.
This entails putting every step of the plan into practice and making sure that everything is done correctly. The first steps presented above will actually be performed by the leader or at least under his direct supervision.
Any issues that come up need to be resolved as best as possible and as quickly as possible. If any of them cause fundamental modifications to the plan, then the leader needs to reassess the efficacy of the plan before continuing the implementation process.
2. Provide support for change related issues.
After the plan has been set in motion, the leader needs to expect that the members of the team will have issues with certain aspects of it. Regardless of the fact that most of these have already been presented to them, they are going to develop personal issues that could not have been predicted in the first phase.
It is important that the team members are able to voice their concerns, issues or questions so that they can be resolved from the initial stages of the plan. Moreover, this serves as feedback as well, which makes it extremely useful.
3. Formulate short-term goals.
The leader should set short-term goals for the team. These goals will be in line with the team’s ultimate objectives. These are extremely important because they generate confidence. If the members of the team acknowledge the fact that they are successful in performing these new tasks they have been assigned, they will gain considerable confidence in the overall plan.
Phase 3 – Reinforcing Change
Even if the first phases of the change management plan prove to be successful, this does not guarantee that this will be the situation on the long term. Therefore, the success of the plan needs to be nurtured in order to preserve it.
The team needs to be aware of the fact that these recent changes are making the company thrive. Therefore, every new objective that is achieved needs to be made public in order to preserve the team’s confidence in the plan.
2. Assess the progress made by the company and the performance of the team to adjust the plan.
After the first two phases of the change management plan have been implemented, the leader needs to analyze the progress made by the company in relation to the performance of the team.
He will have to adjust the initial version of the plan so that the team’s objectives can be reached faster and in a more efficient way. The key to doing this is finding efficient solutions for the issues that the team members are experiencing.
3.Analyze the feedback provided by the team members.
The best way of analyzing the effects that the changes are having on the members of the team is listening to what they have to say. Feedback from the team is fundamental to the correct development of the plan because it relays all the issues that have not been predicted during phase 1.
The 5 Essential Tips for Solid Organizational Change Management
The success of a change management plan depends on a wide range of factors that need to be dealt with one by one. While a universally efficient plan does not exist, there are some small tips and tricks that the leader should bear in mind when developing it. Here are the 5 essential tips that will definitely help the development of the plan.
1. Point out how not changing will affect the company.
This is actually one of the best ways to get the team onboard with the upcoming changes. Explaining to them exactly what would happen to the company if the necessary changes are not implemented in due time is bound to relay the necessity of the plan.
2. Reduce the team’s level of uncertainty.
Team members will be tempted to view changes as threatening if there is a high level of uncertainty in regards to them. This is precisely why the leader needs to be transparent in his actions and to provide detailed explanations when solicited by the team.
3. Involve the team members in the decision process as much as possible.
This is probably the best way to raise the team’s level of confidence in the changes. Even if they are part of making small decisions, they will feel more involved in the outcome of the new conditions and they will be encouraged to participate more.
4. Explain the necessity of change periodically.
This is essential for the success of the second and third phase of the plan. While the team may be persuaded to participate in the development of the plan initially, they need to be reminded of the beneficial aspects that the changes will have on the company as soon as possible.
5. Point out the positive effects of the recent changes to keep the team involved.
The leader should point out the beneficial aspects of the recent changes by using as many specific details as possible so that the team can relate to the current situation as best as possible. This will also make them feel more involved in the outcome of the changes, which will be extremely useful for achieving the ultimate goals of the team.
Overcoming the detrimental effects of change is crucial to the success of the company. And implementing a solid change management strategy can actually make this happen in the most efficient way possible by preventing the vast majority of negative experiences that the team might go through in the process of change.