In today’s fast-paced business climate, the ability to adapt to changing situations is key to maintaining agility. Changes in the market, advancing technology, urgent security requirements, changes in regulatory and compliance issues all have a profound impact on the way we do business.
However, making these changes are often not that simple. In many cases, change requires a great deal of pre-planning prior to implementation, and while the processes themselves may be the core issue, it’s the people who will be carrying out these processes who will be pivotal to the success of the change.
Change takes place on an individual basis. The larger your organization is, the more complex this change becomes by the very nature of the group dynamic. Moving into the future, success lies in your ability to adapt when needed. Using change management to facilitate this philosophy will allow your office to flow with whatever comes next. Inevitably, those who are best prepared will come out ahead and that is always the goal.
What happens if you don’t manage change?
Without a change management structure in place, there is a significant risk of employee attrition. At the very least, morale may take a hit that will be difficult to bounce back from. Whether the changes are gradual or sudden, they likely affect every department. They may not change the way you do everything—not right away, at least—but there’s always more at stake than you might think.
Don’t forget the people who fuel your functions. In fact – think of them first and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Where change lives
Different companies have different views of how to manage change. Since this is a prevalent theme in today’s business world, the change management office (CMO) has emerged as a new and necessary part of the organizational structure.
But all companies are different. For some, office management or even HR is the most logical place from which to manage change. For others, project management would make the most sense, but it could just as easily be a function of several departments combined, from IT all the way to the c-suite.
Senior management should factor high in the change management hierarchy, but it’s not simply a matter of handing down edicts, it needs to be managed from the inside out and from the outside in, from the people side and from the technical side. One thing is certain – it doesn’t “just happen”. It takes a focused effort towards the common goal on the part of each stakeholder throughout the organization. By approaching change with intent and forethought, you will be creating an adaptive office, one built on your capacity to change, a competency that can be carried forward toward your continued success.
Individual change management
No matter how big your company is, it doesn’t have a brain. It’s run by people, and this is where change must begin. Effective change management means that each individual must embrace a new way of thinking and doing things, which will then multiply across your workforce. Effective change management asks that you take an individual point of view, to understand how each person affects change. It’s like building a house: all the foundational bricks need to fit together before you put a roof on it.
Organizational change management
At the organizational level, we must understand what tools are at our disposal to enable these individuals to make the necessary changes. These tools could be procedural, they could be technological, but without a clear vision, you may be limiting your scope to verbal and practical communication and training – not always the most effective methodology, especially in an enterprise situation.
Planning for your future
If we can agree that individual change is where it all begins, let’s look at ways in which you can make this happen. Prosci is a change management specialist who has developed a standard model for individual change.
The ADKAR model represents five objectives one must reach before true change can be achieved:
A – awareness that change must happen
D – desire to engage in change
K – knowledge of how the change can happen
A – ability to change one’s methods and skills
R – reinforcement to ensure that these changes penetrate
So, you could say that change happens on an individual level, but change management happens at the organizational level. At the organizational level, it’s important to keep in mind that while there are milestones to be reached, there is no true end point. We are in a constant state of change and it’s important to keep that in mind.
As a change manager, it may be tempting to skip a few steps and get to the end point faster, but it should never be so fast that it becomes overwhelming. Take a step-by-step approach so that employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders who are affected by the change have the chance to react and bring value to it.
If you do business in Arkansas and have any questions about how change management can improve your business outcomes, reach out to Business World today, or call us toll-free at 501-214-5482 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.