Making the Change
Setting the Vision and goals
To maintain a competitive advantage and remain viable in the marketplace, every business must make changes. Unfortunately, not all change initiatives deliver the desired results. In order to succeed, everyone needs to understand the reasons for change, as well as their individual and collective goals.
- Define success in advance. Know specifically what the desired outcomes are and how you will recognise them once you have reached your goals.
- Leaders must be active role models. The leaders must model the desired behaviour in addition to being involved in the process.
- People are the greatest variable; they must have the support, motivation and vision that the leaders do. They must know the reasons and expected outcomes, and they must embrace the changes in order to make them succeed.
- Know your capacity to change. If the company has undergone major change processes on a regular basis for a long time, what are the chances the people are ready or able to accept more?
Creating a Strategy
Before we undertake a project, a strategy must be developed that addresses both the transition under way and changes in thinking that are necessary.
Is your vision clearly articulated? Will your people know when the implementation has been realised? Are you and your people ready to personally invest and continue to reinvest throughout the process? As you define your strategy, you will have to include the steps required to build and sustain commitment, as well as handle the impact that the changes will have on your culture. A major change can truly strengthen the business, but it can also often result in great workflow disruption, additional expense, and considerable confusion. Having a strategy to support the work and individuals involved will be one of the keys to your success. Keep in mind that there is no single strategy that will fit every situation. Here are some suggestions that can be adapted to your business.
Getting through a transition will require that people work together and collectively accept responsibility for achieving goals. Forming relationships gives us the opportunity to share energy and to develop a sense of group identity that helps individuals support one another, as well as the greater cause.
Deliberations and Debate
Change strategies must be discussed and the salient points well thought out. This helps to frame the issues as well as develop a shared perspective. Lacking some common aspect can undermine success. Dialogue helps to erase false divisions and builds cohesiveness that allows for a more common perspective.
Shared Visions & Goals
If an organisation changes fundamentally and people are simply told to change or leave, with no reason or context in which to decide about either, many will leave (if not physically, they will check out emotionally). Involve people in this level of development and what follows is a much richer layer of trust and shared meaning.
Fundamental change is not possible without involving everyone with a stake in the issue. Failure to involve at all levels of the organisation would be a reason that change will fail.
Foster a change mindset in your organisation. Foster a shift or mindset where people are tuned in and turned on to embrace change. This requires a shift from seeing change as a threat to seeing it as a constant. The mindset will be influenced by the amount of motivation toward change that people are comfortable with, as well as the opportunities that come with it, like learning and growing.
People are the most important asset that any company has, so it is important that their needs are adequately met in order to make it through transitions. Clearly identifying the need to change is supported by understanding the cost and benefits to making those changes. Then establishing a clear vision and goals will help to promote the plan, as will involving the entire team in selecting and implementing change strategies.