Change is a fact of life and an essential part of doing business. In today’s fast moving and highly competitive environment, the only way businesses can remain profitable is by changing to adapt to emerging realities. Organizational change management involves careful planning and implementation after thorough consultation with, and involvement of, the people directly or indirectly affected by the proposed changes.
Here are 5 tips for successfully managing organizational change:
1. Set realistic goals
For any change to be successful, its goals must be realistic, achievable and measurable. Setting unrealistic goals is one of the main reasons organizational changes fail. You may be frustrated with the way things are, but you cannot turn it into Apple or Google overnight. When planning an organizational change, you must never forget that change works best when it is done in a gradual and incremental manner and when the goals are achievable using the resources you have at your disposal.
2. Don’t force change upon employees
People by nature are opposed to change, especially when they are comfortable with things as they are. When changes are forced upon employees in an organization, their natural instinct is to resist in whatever way they can. If they are afraid of management or too polite to speak up, they will create resistance in other ways, such as by being uncooperative. Therefore, change should be implemented only after consulting with the people affected by the changes and winning them over to the side of the proposed changes.
3. Have the CEO lead by example
For any organizational change management to be successful, the CEO (and other high-level employees) of the organization must be seen as the driving force behind the changes taking place. At all times, they should give the impression that they are genuinely committed to the initiative. To inspire the employees to embrace the changes, leadership, enthusiasm and efforts must be highly visible. They should utilize every opportunity available to talk directly to the staff about the changes rather than delegating the task.
4. Get management enthusiastically involved
The success of any organizational change depends on how enthusiastically the managers and supervisors (all levels – senior, midlevel and junior) are involved in it as they are the ones who are entrusted with implementing the changes. If they are seen to have a lackluster or unsupportive attitude towards the changes, then the employees will soon find out what’s going on and lose interest. Therefore, in order to keep the ball rolling, you must get the management enthusiastically involved in all aspects of the change.
5. Dig in for the long haul
Organizational change doesn’t happen in one day or even one month. If things go wrong, there will be no quick fixes, only long term solutions. So once you have set things in motion, you must dig in for the long haul. In the course of organizational change management, several things can go wrong, forcing you to reconsider your decision to make the changes. But remember your goals and stick to your timelines to see results.