Change happens. We might not be able to control it. However, we can certainly control how we respond to it. In dealing with organizational change, it’s important for company leaders to have a clear understanding of what change management is in order to successfully implement it.
Managing change refers to making changes in a planned or systematic fashion. It involves supporting stakeholders through the change, ensuring their awareness and adoption of change, and providing them with the tools to be successful in a new environment. The purpose of change management is to drive stakeholders through three stages of commitment: Educate, Involve, Commit. If your employees don’t know what the change is and why the change is occurring, then how are you going to implement the change? Leaders must show alignment with senior management’s business objectives and exhibit behaviors that support change.
There are several components of change management:
- Change Readiness
- Change Leadership
Your objectives might be to identify and mitigate change risks; brand and align projects with business objectives; ensure leadership and employee buy-in; involve employee and subject matter experts in the change process; or prepare employees to effectively perform in the new environment.
Management’s ability to effectively listen and communicate during change is the most important element for success. Leaders that consistently challenge, motivate and educate their people through change are successful. Change agents should:
- Create an open environment for telling the truth
- Be conscious of communication: face-to-face, body language and eye contact (both yours and theirs)
- Manage expectations and emotions
- Structure the delivery of solutions
We can choose to anticipate and embrace changes or resist them.
Garrison Wynn points out that change itself isn’t the issue – resistance to change is. Employees may be hesitant to learn the new way because they will no longer be viewed as the experts … instead, they are a rookie all over again. It’s critical that we prove to our people that their experience is valued and that change means getting better results.