This is the first post in a series of blogs on effective change management. We will be diving into each key step in the change management process over the next five weeks.
Good companies embrace change. But great companies are excited by it, seek it out, and actively create it. Some of the most iconic companies of our time – Amazon, Facebook, Airbnb – are celebrated for their ability to manage change. They adapt to dynamic markets, deliver timely and relevant content, and always seem to have a grip on the next big thing before it happens.
How do they do it? It starts with their employees. Change can be exciting, inspiring, and invigorating, but it also can be ambiguous, uncertain, and intimidating. These feelings towards change can be conflicting and vary from person to person.
By taking a strategic approach to planning, introducing, and executing change, you can successfully lead your team through a major transition.
There are five components to change management in today’s dynamic business landscape:
- Get Your Team’s Buy In. A successful and smooth transition will require buy in from every stakeholder. Take time to understand the concerns and perspective of each affected team member. Borrow from the marketing department and use “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) messaging to clearly explain the benefits of the change on both an individual and organization level.
- Create a Roadmap. Clearly outline the steps that will be taken to implement the change. Including a timeline of events can be a helpful visual aid in written communications. Make sure every stakeholder understands what is expected of him/her at each step of the way.
- Communicate with Your Team Along the Way. Let your team know if there are updates to the timeline, scope…etc and give continual feedback. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, business transformations are eight times more likely to succeed if senior managers communicate openly with their entire organization. They also found that effective communication is the leading indicator of successful change implementation.
- Provide Help. Change isn’t easy for anyone. Make sure there are resources available for any questions or concerns key stakeholders may have throughout the process. Most importantly, provide a person for them to lean on if they get stuck–whether on your own management team or from an outside consultant.
- Celebrate! After all is said and done, take the time to thank your team for their hard work and celebrate your collective successes.
Taking these measures will not only reduce the disturbances caused by change, but also help employees become more accustomed to change itself. The five points above help reduce employees’ fear of ambiguity and uncertainty in change environments. From here, employees can begin to see change as an opportunity for growth and innovation. This means your organization can respond to changes in the market with more agility and success.
Big changes on the horizon for your organization? We would love to hear your plans and share our own. Contact us today.