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How to Research and Spotlight the Best Change Process?

Change is inevitable and can be a positive milestone for any organisation with proper engagement. Today’s organisations must be more AGILE, more innovative, and ready to evolve their current business model due to the impact to ever-changing market conditions. The need for change can seem obvious and urgent, but that does not make it easy to spotlight potential opportunities due to change resistance – but by preparing for change with researching and implementing an innovative Change Management Process.

Change is happening at every given moment from technology, to regulations, and to internal processes that define how an organisation operates. If your business is not prepared to implement internal changes as necessary, your organisation will quickly fall behind your more progressive and aggressive competition. In terms of leadership, driving change is neither about being rational nor emotional it is about the ability to be both at the same time; successful Leaders understand how their behaviour influences their people.

Organisational change always must start inside the minds of your employees. As soon as you get people to change the way they think, they will start doing things differently, willing to buy-in to your future vision and your strategic initiatives immediately comes to life. However, change can be disruptive and stressful for employees since all human beings are typically resistant to change (by nature). As a Leader, you must be able to navigate the inevitable uncertainty that encompasses change and by executing an effective Change Management strategy to achieve your organisation’s desired outcomes.

Change Management is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. The process must be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes but while maintaining a laser-focus on achieving the desired outcomes.

When Executive Management Team and Leaders involve their employees in the Change Management Process, they are more likely to support the changes and feel empowered to contribute to the organisation’s success. This support focus generates a positive impact on employee morale and positive engagement leading to increased job satisfaction, motivation, and retention.

With ensuring a successful transition, organisations must consider eight (8) key steps:

Before introducing any major changes to your organisation, it is critically important to define what needs to be changed and your “WHY” clearly. This includes identifying the goals and objectives of the change, as well as the potential benefits and challenges with clarifying the future vision. Firstly, you need to ask yourself:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What pain points is this change solving?

To start, plan and document your “WHY” and the reason you are implementing this organisational change. This “WHY” Statement will be your compass and definition for all the work to follow.

To implement broad-scale organisational change, you must start small. For example, choose one (1) workflow or process to implement first, so your Change Management Team can build practices and specific examples before your change initiative can be rolled out completely. Ideally, choose a workflow or process that is collaborative and broad reaching throughout your business, so you can identify and amend any issues before you implement the change.

Whether the change is to a process, system, job role, organisational structure, or all these items, a Change Project or initiative can only be successful if individual employees change their behaviours. This is the singular essence of Change Management and to manage change successfully, all core business roles must participate.

Change Management processes are all-encompassing. To ensure a comprehensive approach, it is crucial to assemble a team of diverse individuals who will manage the change process. This team should include individuals from different departments, with different skillsets, but also diverse levels within the organisation. The core roles in Change Management are as follows:

  • Executive Sponsors
  • Leaders
  • People Managers
  • Change Practitioners
  • Project Managers
  • People (impacted employees)

A co-ordinated system of support personnel with their unique talents who contribute to deliver a single successful outcome (the change). Change Management requires individuals in key roles within the organisation to engage with the change, co-ordinate their efforts in defined ways, and key purpose must support employees through the change transition.

Effective communication is critical during times of change. The purpose of a Communication Plan is to develop an effective and consistent messaging strategy. It helps guide the process of setting measurable goals for your strategy, profiling your target audience, and then creating and successfully delivering your message. This can be the difference between project success and failure.

This strategy helps with preparing an audience-focused Communication Plan and based on the following twelve (12) steps:

  • Step 1. – Understand your project parameters and objectives.
  • Step 2. – Understand your audience.
  • Step 3. – Determine who provides communication updates.
  • Step 4. – Determine your communication needs.
  • Step 5. – Determine the communication goals for your team.
  • Step 6. – Name the Project (?) and outline the goals.
  • Step 7. – Identify key stakeholders and team members.
  • Step 8. – Create a Communication Schedule.
  • Step 9. – Plan your communication message(s) and format.
  • Step 10. – Define the frequency of communication.
  • Step 11. – Define communication methods and channels.
  • Step 12. – Consolidate the information into one (1) document.

Change can be overwhelming for employees, so it is crucial to provide them with training and support to help fight change fatigue. Change Management training may also be customised to address the needs of specific departments and teams. This can include training programs, workshops, tools, and resources to help employees understand and adapt to the changes.

Change Management training programs incorporate two (2) types:

  • Strategic and focused on managing change at an organisational level.
  • Tactical and focused on helping individuals navigate change at a personal level.

Resistance to change is the reluctance or unwillingness of people to adapt to organisational change. This employee opposition can range from expressing their resistance publicly to unknowingly resisting change through micro-resistance, language, or general actions.

By conducting a Force Field Analysis, this process can help you identify the internal issues causing resistance to change. To overcome internal resistance due to a lack of employee training and support resources, organisations must:

  • Open communication channels.
  • Involve employees in the change process.
  • Provide employee onboarding, re-skilling, and up-skilling.
  • Enable employees with self-help support resources.
  • Allocate resources appropriately.

There is no single approach that is suitable for monitoring change progress. Ideally, this structure uses a combination of methods, tools, and processes that fit the context, scope, and scale of the change.

  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data from change participants, such as their attitudes, perceptions, behaviours, and feedback.
  • Recording observations, comparative viewpoints, and internal audits are useful for evaluating the actual performance and compliance of your change participants.
  • Aggregating, analysing, and data collected from monitoring methods and tools, then presenting data insights in an interactive and visual way.
  • Create, update, and administration of reports and dashboards from data insights.

Celebrating successes, no matter how insignificant you may think or small or large can help boost employee morale and maintain momentum during the change process. There is a need to recognise and reward individuals and teams who have successfully adapted to the changes by:

  • Celebrating the individuals or team’s early victories.
  • Collecting regular feedback and broadcasting the details across the organisation.
  • Monitoring technology and tool adoption.
  • Building upon “best practices” insights, learnings, and adoption for future projects.
arrow made puzzle pieces pointing to other pieces

Innovation is a driving force for positive change transformation and your Change Management strategy contributes to help facilitate the power of innovation.

A Change Management strategy focuses on initiative-taking change and places team members at the centre of strategic change. Innovation and change are infinitely interconnected, so harness the power of both by designing strategies that will continue to transform your organisation. This people-first approach to purposeful change lets Change Managers curate different strategies but practices that benefits all stakeholders involved – by exploring the concept of “design thinking” to inspire the most innovative ideas and allowing team members to shape new initiatives together.

In today’s ever-evolving work environment, Executive Management Teams need to be ready to adapt, transition, or transform their business operations at any given moment.

But, if new change is not seen as a natural and regular occurrence throughout your organisation, then your employees will easily resistant any new change initiative. Even if your team is onboard with certain change if their approach and commitment is not 100%, then this will impact their ability to implement the change initiative (as planned). In fact, 70% of Change Programs fail due to employee resistance and lack of Executive support.

In fostering a foundation for dynamic operations, it is critical that the key elements of an organisation – people, processes, and technology – are not only aligned but flexible with adapting to change. As a pivotal strategic tool, the People, Process, Technology Framework allows teams to respond to evolving challenges with reinforcing the agility, adaptability, and resilience of your organisation. This strategic alignment is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency and effectiveness, and especially during periods of meaningful change transformation.

A well-curated approach to Change Management will allow to build opportunities for growth into and throughout your overall operational activities. In hindsight, by exposure to this ingrained discipline your employees will become much less resistant to changes being implemented and begin to embrace these changes. This is about connecting your strategy with the future vision of where your employees contribution determines your organisation’s success.

Now, there are two (2) key benefits to highlight this point.

  1. By institutionalising a standardised and systematic change approach, this allows your team to set more realistic, progressive, and attainable goals.
  2. Then, your team will be better positioned to be able to do exactly what needs to be done, how it needs to be executed, and to create the changes needed.

These key benefits deliver a concise vision for your team and provides a clear idea of what a given change initiative will “look like” for your team — which makes it much easier to gauge and measure your progress (and milestones) as the change moves forward.

With designing an innovative Change Management strategy, you must consider a “sense of curiosity”. This is about thriving through disrupted change that affects operations and forging a new direction for an organisation. By driving innovation and organisational standards, this cultivates a curious desire with what the future looks like and to be better than yesterday.

Curiosity allows people to welcome new experiences with an open-mindset and being less defensive and aggressive. This discipline determines a desire for employees to learn more, contribute more, and deliver more for the organisation. With your teams response to their unknown environment but been uniquely inquisitive and positive, they can envisage (and contribute) to the most imaginative solutions on their change journey.

Facilitating a “sense of curiosity” is an essential component in designing an innovative workplace and helping teams embrace change. By creating an organisational culture of curiosity, you will encourage team members to become Change Agents. Additionally, being able to reframe the potential pitfalls of change and the fear associated with recent changes, then this presents a fantastic opportunity to improve processes and innovate with better solutions.

To effectively implement change, it is critical to prioritise building a strong Change Management Team and the internal resources to help deliver the change initiative. This team should consist of individuals in Executive or leadership positions, Managers from various departments, key stakeholders, and select employees to offer a holistic perspective.

By building alliances with various cross-functional departments, this makes it easier to educate the rest of the team on the importance of change initiatives and provides additional resource support throughout the Change Project. This incentive helps develop new Change Management strategies for effective deployment and avoids time-driven delays. However, you also need support from teams, stakeholders, and employees to increase the chances of delivering success.

When drafting a Change Project Plan to achieve your specific goals and objectives, then consider the following three (3) points:

  1. What resources will be needed?
  2. How many given resources will be needed?
  3. How will the identified resources be used throughout the Change Project?

Project Managers are responsible for scheduling internal resources and project tasks have specific start + end dates. The need to meet resource demand during these dates requires looking at your resource capabilities, availability of personnel, and external candidates to fill critical skillset gaps. With the scheduling of resources, Project Managers must balance two (2) important goals:

The most efficient resources (and skillsets) will ensure your project tasks are completed on time, without sacrificing quality and critical performance for change initiatives.

This helps avoid scheduling conflicts with available resources and in consideration of their contribution to other projects, assignments, and annual leave.

When engaging in organisational change, the process is easier to streamline when there is a Change Management Model in place. Some examples include the following:

  • ADKAR Change Management Model
  • Bridges’ Transition Model
  • Kaizen Change Management Model
  • Kotter’s Change Management Theory
  • Kübler-Ross Change Curve
  • Lewin’s Change Management Model
  • McKinsey 7S Change Management Model
  • PDSA Cycle

With the execution of a standard and systematic methodology, this approach is easier to implement and help to make laser-focused improvements to your organisation’s processes. However, you cannot eliminate all the variables involved in each change initiative but by keeping the structure as uniform as possible, then this is the critical path to identifying the specific strengths and weaknesses of your approach — and actioning whatever may be necessary to improve your team’s efforts in the future.

Your employees are your organisation’s greatest assets! Positioning a new change initiative that aligns with organisational core values is a key strategy to engage your employees to be more receptive (and committed) to the change process.

Strategic Change Management empowers organisations to navigate the complexities of disrupted change and successfully implement new strategic initiatives. It helps your Executive Management Team and Leaders to create a new culture that embraces adaptable change, engages stakeholders, highlights core values, and fosters agility. Therefore, implementing a Change Management Framework is a critical component of long-term business success.

Change Management helps cultivate an organisational culture that embraces agility and adaptability, thereby ensuring long-term sustainability. It builds upon an organisation’s current foundations with its capacity to respond swiftly to economic shifts, market competition, analytical data insights, technological advancements, and evolving customer needs.

Change Management provides the methodology, approach, and tools to mitigate disruptions that can arise during strategic projects and transition of your change initiatives. It provides composable structure, predictability, and clarity, thereby reducing the negative impact on operations and employee morale. By executing large segments of changes slowly, addressing key issues, and celebrating wins in the initial stages of your Change Management Process, you begin to drive greater benefits realisation and whilst also preparing the entire organisation for future success.

By effectively managing change agility, organisations begin to view change as an ongoing opportunity, not as a threat or liability. Change Management enables organisations to optimise the benefits realisation derived from strategic initiatives and thereby, realise a higher Return-On-Investment (ROI) by minimising disruption and accelerating the adoption of new strategies.

Foster an organisational culture that embraces change, but with a deeper commitment to drive change must permeate through all levels of the business.

With committed Executive leadership, strategic vision, clear goals, and a resolute Change Management Team are all critical components of a successful Change Program. This systematic approach to Change Management helps your employees adjust to new behaviours, values, and skills. By formally setting change expectations, employing tools to improve communication, proactively seeking ways to reduce misinformation and a commitment for the new direction, both stakeholders and employees are more likely to accept and embrace change.

Failed organisational change initiatives result in cynical and burned-out employees, making any future change objectives problematic. The fear of managing change and its direct impact with “change fatigue” is a leading cause of anxiety for Executive Management Team’s. The organisations that can best navigate these internal changes will be the ones that remain ultra-competitive and deliver the most success.

Executing the right Change Management Plan and well-designed Change Management Framework is essential for organisations seeking to navigate through the complexities of change successfully. Visioning, prioritising, planning, providing feedback, and rewarding change success are the key leadership and management skills needed in any successful Change Program. By embracing an Organisational Change Management (OCM) program, your business can overcome obstacles to their change initiatives, implement a new way of operating, and employees can rise to new challenges.

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