Change management is not an added advantage for a team to thrive. It is an enabler that helps your team survive a rapidly changing business backdrop.
The business vision, strategy, short-term and long-term goals are all defined, but usually they forget to incorporate a key factor which is people side of the change. Change management in the due course of action becomes an isolated track and eventually ceases to exist. But people side of the change though called soft side of the change is usually the hardest to achieve. A business transformation strategy that heavily depends on using cutting-edge technology or the latest platform might not deliver the best of results. But a strategy that focuses on fostering a nimble team that can manage a business change well and leverage new technology can even deliver the impossible.
Why change is an enabler
Change management is not an added advantage that a team uses to thrive. It is an enabler that helps your team survive a rapidly changing business backdrop. It is time to embrace change management as a strategic imperative. A business strategy keeping change management in mind, should map benefits to employees adopting and using the change. The expected ROI should effectively take into account how quickly (speed of adoption), how many (ultimate utilization), and how effectively (proficiency) employees do their jobs the new way.
The following change management levers will help leadership execute a strategy that is well focused on managing people side of the change.
- Change Management Sponsorship
“Who is driving the change”? “Whom do I ask for clarification”? “Does anybody here have answers to my queries”? A lot of confusion and frustration can be seen arising when people do not know where to go or whom to go to.
Change management should be owned by the leadership. Leadership should be viewed as not advocate of change, but a champion of change. A change management sponsor can typically be a CEO, COO or CIO in an organization level and in a program-level could be a program director or a project manager. An undoubted ownership will make a new initiative be seen with clarity and certainty. It has to be launched and driven at all stages by the leadership. This will help the team feel reassured as they can visualize a sponsor who takes decisions, clear any doubts and obstacles proactively. This sets the landscape for people preparing with confidence for a change that is around the corner. Sponsorship has to evolve into active participation throughout the program.
- Communicate, Communicate and Communicate
Communication is a key element to any change initiative. The big picture needs to be communicated. Key messages at the beginning stage should include why is the change happening and what is the intended outcome. At all other stages, it is important to identify key messages and communicate them effectively. Also, it is to be kept in mind that change happens slowly and one individual at a time. Effort has to be put in communicating to employees “What’s in it for me”. When change is accepted, and one individual at a time adapts to it only then the big picture becomes possible.
- Build a Coalition Support
Leadership eventually needs to nurture a network of champions, who will carry forward the framework of change management. This will help in sustaining and reinforcing the new ways in every aspect. They could be team leads, internal communication teams, or identified individuals. This helps in also creating a culture that welcomes change and taking it as a challenge. A network of champions will also pave way for more ways of innovatively implementing changes. This network can focus on creating awareness of how change is being managed at individual levels, communicating updates and building a team synergy.
Leadership can also engage in more ways for managing people side of the change. But engaging people to be able to be alert and respond to quick changes in business is of utmost importance in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Leadership should forge the motto: “Accept, Adapt and Achieve” in the strategy of any business transformation. It is a capability that needs to be built in the organization for out changing competition. Change management as a strategic imperative across organization and initiatives, will enable people take advantage of any change that comes their way.