How Are You Managing Change?

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” —Arnold Bennett

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Why Change

Fight it all you want, change is inevitable. When we fail to embrace change we cause ourselves undue stress and waste valuable time and resources. Why change? Change becomes necessary when the needs of our organization, customers, or employees change.

How We Change

Once we realize that needs have changed, and therefore we need to evolve; we must set a realistic change goal. Every level of management must roll-up their sleeves and get involved. Employees must understand and believe the reason for the change and the benefit to them personally. The organization must be committed to pursuing the long-term vision and the change requirements associated with it. Here are four factors that will help you manage change.

Purpose

Have a clear purpose. How will this change influence, improve, and impact others? What problem are you solving or what are you improving on? How will it benefit you customers? How will employees benefit? How does this change fit into the overall organizational objectives? People’s main concern is their own well-being; your employees need a clear understanding of your purpose and how they will be impacted by the change.

Plan

Create a proper plan for implementing change. Spend extra time formulating a good plan. Build flexibility in the plan. Set clear goals, identify milestones, and outline the timeframe. Ensure that goals are ambitious, yet attainable. What scope does the plan cover and what are the deliverables? Identify what success looks like. Determine what relationships and resources you will need to accomplish your goals. Do your plans for change fit with the vision of the organization? You must determine a budget for the plan. Specifically identify who will be accountable for each task. Then, bring the right team of people together to implement the plan. Check results early and often to ensure you are not veering off course.

Culture

Develop an organizational culture that embraces change. Your culture should encourage a sense of responsibility, camaraderie, and generosity. Encourage the development of strong relationships throughout your organization. Let employees share in the leadership responsibility. Make sure you have the right people serving in the right roles. Provide engaging work for your employees and allow every employee to use their expertise in achieving shared goals. Build loyalty by promoting a positive culture that encourages employee participation. You should encourage innovation and allow for mistakes. Help employees develop collaborative and decision-making skills. Promote transparency. Create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect where teams are motivated and engaged.

Communication

Successful change management is more dependent on communication than on strategy. Make sure you are clearly communicating with your employees early and often. Set an example of the level of communication that is expected. Talk truthfully about change. Be genuine in both your words and actions. Clearly outline ownership and accountability. Promote a common understanding of the long-term vision of the organization as well as the immediate goal. Listen more than you speak and ensure that you understand what’s being said. Communication is the only way to succeed. If your communication isn’t reaching your team, you won’t be successful at managing change.

Take-Away

Change is inherently uncomfortable, but the fact is we must change or we become obsolete. Failing to recognize the need for change can result in wasted time, energy, and resources. You can minimize the fear and resistance associated with change by defining and sharing a clear purpose for the change; by setting realistic goals; and evaluating who and how others with be affected by the change. Communicate the purpose, goals, and benefits to all parties that will be impacted. Always be transparent and open in your communication. Develop a culture within your organization that is agile and embraces change. Create a plan for the implementation of change and outline how success will be measured. Engage employees in the process of identifying the need for change, formulating a plan, and implementing the change. When employees are invested in the change process managing change can be a positive, transforming experience.

 

 

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

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Author: lizstincelli

I am Liz Stincelli and I am passionate about recognizing, inspiring, and igniting the leader in each of us. I am the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where I specialize in helping management teams learn new ways of looking at problems and finding new approaches to discovering solutions. I hold a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. I offer 20+ years of pro-active operations management, problem-solving, team-building, human resources, accounting, and business administration experience in a variety of industries. I serve on the Editorial Review Board for the Independent Journal of Management and Production and the Journal of Managerial Psychology. I have also been a guest lecturer at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business Westminster College. You can learn more about me by reading my blog here at: www.stincelliadvisors.com or www.engagenow.me. Connect with me on Twitter @infinitestin, google.com/+ElizabethStincelli on Google+, and https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizstincelli on LinkedIn. You can contact me by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “How Are You Managing Change?”

  1. Reblogged this on chrisalbrycht and commented:
    Excellent overview of the elements required for successful change. I especially agree with communicating often about your expectations and during the planning and execution phases as well. We must understanding that change affects the entire organization even if the change initiative only focuses on a small work unit. This work unit likely has connections, relationships, and business processes that touch other elements in the organization. The best way to start is getting the whole organization in the room when you set expectations (purpose) and develop the plan (Jusela, 2012). Allowing time for vibrant discussion empowers other to participate and makes them more likely to support the change initiative rather than sabotaging it later on.

    Jusela, G. E. (2012). Meeting the Global Competitive Challenge: Building Systems That Learn on a Large Scale. In French, Bell, & Zawacki (6), Organization Development and Transformation (p. 63-103). McGraw Hill

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