At one time or another, all businesses face change. In order to keep pace with new strategies, technological innovations, and a fluctuating economic climate, some degree of change is necessary. In every case, whether it is challenges with people or processes, change is difficult to implement. Clearly laying out the new procedure based on input from front line staff and collecting relevant data to assess improvements is the best way to implement change, but often becomes a complex and multifaceted process. From front line employees to executive level leadership, companies looking to overcome resistance can benefit from the use of change management programs.
Resistance to change typically occurs during the implementation phase. Whether resistance stems from time, money, existing systems or complicated automation, businesses often find it difficult to work through these complexities with their employees. In some cases, interdepartmental communication and collaboration becomes a significant issue as different departments are suddenly expected to forge relationships to foster group efforts.
Implementing a Change Management Program
One of the main ways to overcome resistance is to utilize change management strategies. By interviewing key people in the company who will be impacted by the new processes, it’s possible to create a blueprint or map to guide the new developments. Interviews are useful for not only gaining insight into what roles various employees fill, but also to gather input on what works, what doesn’t work and where there may be room for improvement. All interviews are confidential.
The next phase observes those same employees, who were previously interviewed, in order to identify inaccuracies or adjust the mapping process to include any tasks or roles that were inadvertently missed. Using this feedback, themes are communicated to management and strategies for improvement are created. The process is intentionally participatory so that the same employees involved in the original process can have a voice in designing the future system. This open communication process ensures everyone is engaged throughout the implementation of new changes.
Putting it all Together
The Graziadio Business Report, issued by Pepperdine University, reminds us of several principles that organizations should consider when implementing change. These include:
- Personal Choice- All organizational change is preceded by personal change.
- Involvement Breeds Commitment- Getting your folks on board and engaged is the key to successful change efforts.
- The Relationship Between Change and Performance is Not Instantaneous. Meaningful transformation takes time.
From a business perspective, change should always be top of mind. It’s necessary for growth, adaptation, and overall business success. Utilizing an appropriate change management program can help businesses more efficiently and effectively lead change, resulting in improved performance and achievement of long-term strategic goals.