Five Principles to Manage Change

Change is a digital continuum.

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. Change Management is a complex management discipline due to the “VUCA” nature of digital organizations. How to set digital principles to improve Change Management effectiveness?

Understand psychological emotions behind changes: There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives. There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different circumstance. People’s feelings need to be addressed. The question then becomes one of: “how well do we understand the individual, their goals, and how the change will affect them?” This usually requires a dialogue to answer their questions and address its relevancy. Collaboration is the route towards providing better and more tailored change management. Spending time with people to find out what it is that drives them; what their issues are; what their fears and perceptions might be. Exploring why they are resistant might uncover some aspects of the change process that have been poorly designed or overlooked.  The other reason why is change so difficult could be the leadership factor. Leaders do not set a good example to be change agents.

Change is just the vehicle to elevate you toward the ultimate destinations: It is the key to present the WHY first. Many organizations focus so heavily on the “doing” (the “how”), they lose sight of the “purpose,” the “WHY” part of changes. A vision about changes provides the guiding light and direction. Then it is important for the managers to internalize the change. This is best done if they participate in the development of the vision. Primarily, it provides a way to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward. Every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the “Why.”  They need to think long and hard about what the change is for and how their part of the organization can contribute to it – and be as specific as possible.

Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of change and the purpose of change: Digital is the age of people. The human element of change entails a people-centric approach to change management styles. Empowering the workforce to embrace change is a most effective, efficient and result-oriented management in organizations. It’s important that you make your employees feel like they are a big part of the changes that need to be made. There are two elements that are critical to bringing in the human element in a change management program. These are fairness and communication. Identifying the champions/agents, you should know who the guys on your team who can/are running with it. Support them and motivate them. Build a working environment that is conducive to change. Remember change management is a gradual process. Be flexible- change will always involve failures as well as success. Reinforce success but don’t punish failures.

Change Management is an ongoing, continued process and dynamic capability within the organization: Change shouldn’t be treated as a singular occurrence. Change can not be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. Management is a substantial and ongoing digital capability which not only creates changes but also adapts to changes seamlessly. A capability view of the enterprise helps business identify “actuality, capability, and potentiality,” to build competency and improve overall business maturity. Change Management is an important management capability which often not goes alone, but integrate with other management capabilities such as strategy management, talent management,

It’s often more accessible to measure change readiness rather than change progress: The change needs to be defined in its base elements and associated benefits to be achieved. Not all elements of change are easily quantifiable, whereas some are in terms of hours, and dollars saved. Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now, and then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. It’s probably better and more accessible to measure change-readiness rather than change progress. Perhaps the difficulty in measuring Change Management is that the very thing you are measuring is changing. It can be argued that if you have good change-readiness, then you will probably be better at change, measure the input, not the output. It’s too late to do anything about it by then. The problem stems from the way outcomes are being measured. When the collective outcome is the focus, the silo walls collapse. When individual and departmental outcomes are measured, the walls go up. Whatever the measurement system is, it needs to be consistent, repeatable and as unbiased as possible.

The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that business leaders must learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and predicting the uncertain issues of tomorrow. Closer to reality is that ‘change’ is continuously happening in the digital ecosystem of a company. Change Management success is not accidental, it requires a plan and strategy as well. Change is not for its own sake, a clear vision, effective communication, stepwise processes and exemplified change leadership are all the key success factors to overcome the challenges and manage changes smoothly.

Follow us at: @Pearl_Zhu

May 20, 2017 at 11:21AM

from Pearl Zhu

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