When "change" is accelerating and not exhilarating to your team

Let's face it; the rate of change is accelerating hour by hour. Technology is faster and information is coming at the speed of light. And it's not going to slowing down any time soon. This means, that the degree of change is also shifting at significant speeds within organizations today. Whether your company is on the leading edge or competing edge of technology, products and/or services, this is not a time to rest on company laurels. Regardless of the industry or size of an organization, a CEO should have a solid infrastructure and a strategic plan to preserve the change, in addition to the leadership within the company who possess the core competencies to manage it. Where to begin you might ask? Begin with Implementation techniques, change management designs, and making the right decisions to support staff through the change to sustain a competitive advantage during the change, and consider the good health of an organization involved.

A good place to begin is by asking, "What should we change?" This question needs to begin at the C-level. This spurs a plethora of organizational goals to tackle along with prioritizing which to wrestle with first. The second question would most likely be, "what's the best way to effectively and efficiently start making the necessary changes and communicate the vision around them?" And finally, "what's the commitment to the change?" It's important for a company to look at their current change management structure if they have one and if they don't have one they need to look at adopting a blueprint for organizational change and build it into the business plan. Why? Because the more sophisticated and competitive the organization, the more intentional senior management needs to be about partnering with internal and external resources of experts to bring clarity to the questions, help to point out the drivers of change i.e., suppliers, competition, and customers. Also, identify obstacles and help navigate a strong and methodical approach to managing new initiatives. Experts can help with the heavy lifting, partner to design a change structure, execute the best processes and models for the company while supporting the organization to ensure it stays on course.

Five areas to consider at the senior level to formulate progressive organizational change strategies are:

  • Establish a budget for organizational change in the annual strategic plan.
  • Developed a long term and sustainable roll-out plan for change.
  • Coach Executives (budget for accredited experts) to define a clear, strong and motivating vision, strategy, and culture.
  • Design and lead strategic alignment and change management retreats for key executives to facilitate the buy-in process.
  • Implement a 360-degree leadership assessment process and development programs for top leaders in the company that will cascade down through the organization.

Before petitioning and mobilizing support for a new change platform here are some other factors to consider: 1) Establish a sense of urgency, 2) Discuss the potential crisis, 3) Identify opportunities, and 4) Gain consensus, and commitment to the change from the top.

Why? Because this is where the people with influence and a long reaching stick will either help champion the new initiative or create barriers. In order for any new change management program to take hold, there should be at least 75% of stakeholder commitment. This would include the board of directors. Someone recently asked me, "what about the other 25%?" It's tough to get 100% support. Those reluctant to go with the change are the ones that need a bit more persuading. In most cases they may not fully grasp the reason for the change. This may mean company leadership needs to tailor communication of the vision in a different way to help [all stakeholders] connect the dots. Also, there may be some trepidation about the change such as fear or denial that any change needs to happen or should happen. By having a consistent pipeline to communicate and clarify changes that address ambiguity or reluctance will help focus those who are slower to agree or make the shift. Meanwhile, guide them to help them make sense of the new platform, why it's important, and what it means specifically to them as a part of their role and responsibilities.

Models, methodologies, and training are specific to each company. There is no "one size fits all" approach to organizational change and change management practices. Part of the infrastructure should include training across the company at all levels to ensure employees and senior staff are developing the core competencies required to do a new kind of work, lead and/or take on more responsibilities, and help them align themselves for success to achieve their personal goals and the organizations goals. Leadership development is a critical skill that needs to be cultivated. Coaching and mentoring should be a focus and projected into the annual budget as part of an on-going training and development program for leadership. Also, this approach highlights behaviors and attitudes as it reinforces the change models, cements the commitment to the change, and cultural shift throughout the organization.

For more information about our Change Management Training & models, Executive Leadership Development and 360 Leadership assessments or learn about our consulting services for organization design and transformation contact:

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©  Laura Perez Ehrheart | August 10, 2016

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