Today’s fast-paced business landscape is driving change at an unprecedented pace. Every day, organizations launch initiatives to improve performance or boost their competitive advantage. These initiatives can range from periodic technology updates to full-on restructuring efforts or mergers and acquisitions.
Change management is the defined process to help ensure the success of these organizational transitions.
At Focused Energy, we give particular emphasis on managing and implementing financial, operational and employee transitions to ensure an organization’s overall health. In our experience, healthy organizations are more profitable and have higher employee morale, client satisfaction and revenue. We dig out the root cause of your challenges, and work our way up to ensure strategies are sustainable and supportive of your vision.
If you'd like to begin this process on your own, it's best to understand the hurdles to change and how to overcome them.
Challenges with Change
You’ve probably heard the disheartening statistic that up to 70 percent of organizational change initiatives fail. This figure was initially reported in 1993 by Hammer and Champy – but it still holds true 25 years later.
Why do so many change projects fail?
Amid all organizations changes, there is a common factor – the people.
Adjusting is hard. Change initiatives impact workforce behavior, reporting structures, workflows, job roles, employee morale, and even organizational culture. A recent survey showed that approximately 33 percent of the workforce doesn’t understand the need or implications of these changes – and this can be detrimental for any company.
In a nutshell, improper management of people during transition is a remedy for failure.
As urgent as it might seem, organizational change requires finesse and patience. Initiating the process without a strategic and inclusive plan creates a sense of uncertainty or insecurity among the workers.
When employees don’t understand the need for change, they are likely to resist – leading to low engagement and poor performance. In the 2017 Pulse Survey, experts at KPMG note that the implementation of change initiatives “rests upon embracing the needs of the employees involved and by acknowledging the views of people impacted by the changes.”
Managing Change in a Healthy Way
Regardless of the challenges involved, one thing is clear: change happens.
In the words of a celebrated American scholar, Warren G. Bennis, “In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.”
That’s why the KPMG Global Transformation Study approximates that nearly 96 percent of organizations are undergoing some form of transformation. However, only 47 percent of them expected real value from their efforts.
So how do you implement change that not only sticks but supports larger company goals and future growth? That’s where managing change or transitions with the help of Focused Energy is vital:
Communicate change and the value to individuals
Communication should be frequent and consistent. Anyone impacted by changes needs to know what that entails, why and how it is happening, and what’s in it for them.
Don’t impose change; engage employees in a conversation about it.
With a carefully planned change management, you can ensure that all stakeholders are on board and informed on the expected benefits of the initiative. As industry leader William Bridges asserts in his book Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, “successful organizational change takes place when employees have a clear purpose, a plan for, and a part to play in their changing surroundings.”
Whether at the company level or project level, change management helps facilitate efficient implementation of a transition and opens lines of communication. Managing and communicating changing properly also reduces the anxiety and stress associated with these changes and – by outlining milestones and goal for the project– also eliminates the counter-intuitive stress of the unknown.
Decrease unnecessary demands on existing resources
Leaders need to consider the aggregate effect of incremental changes. Change initiatives need to be driven by whether they are an organizational imperative. Initiatives are beyond good ideas – they are critical to organizational survival.
Other ideas must be rejected or put on hold.
Boost the organization’s capacity and resilience for dealing with change
People and process need to be able to absorb change to be effective. To thrive in today’s highly competitive business environment, employees must be vested in their company’s goals and empowered to contribute.
This requires change, process improvement and open feedback to be more than mere projects but a part of an organization’s culture.
Have a process for managing change and transition
What happens when change is undertaken haphazardly? The likelihood of success is significantly diminished because not everyone agrees with/understands the need for the change. Poorly managed changes are disastrous to the stability and morale of employees.
Rushing the change, not involving all stakeholders, or ‘winging it’ increase the likelihood of project failure and overrun costs.
On the contrary, taking time to plan and schedule the changes mitigates potential risks since you already have a framework to overcome problems that you expect to arise.
To manage change effectively, business leaders need to deal with both what is changing and the impact of those changes on their teams and individuals.
It’s clear as day that change management is vital for successful organizational transitions. However, many businesses soon realize that implementing the right strategy is not straightforward – it’s easier said than done.
If you are in need of professional change management services, contact Focused Energy. We will leverage the best change management practices ensuring you implement all your changes seamlessly with minimal disruptions. Don’t allow your business to fail when you have the will to transform!