Even Small Organizational Changes Can be Difficult
Wouldn’t it be great to simplify organizational change to improve the benefits for everyone? Leaders who have led corporate change initiatives know that the above saying is often painfully true. It is especially difficult to manage and execute major organizational shifts – even when the change is agreed-upon by key stakeholders as “worth having.”
Be Mindful as a Change Leader
But there’s no reason to make organizational change harder to effect than it needs to be. Change managers need to be mindful of the activities they plan. Too often the initiatives associated with change are too many and too time consuming.
There is already stress inherent in the individual and organizational change process itself. Simplify organizational change by not scheduling more than workers can handle in their regular routines.
Six Tips to Simplify Organizational Change
Here are 6 change management consulting tips on how to simplify organizational change and ease the burden for all:
1. Clarify the Expectations and Impact
Be crystal clear on how the change will affect everyone down to the individual level. If employees don’t understand how they are to behave differently and how that will benefit both them and the company, they will drag their feet and resist.
2. Adjust Workloads and Priorities
Work upfront with company leaders so they understand what their responsibilities will be and about how much time they need to devote to the change process. Sure, regular work must continue during change, but you need leaders to set aside time to observe and coach their teams in the right direction. That means shifting priorities and workloads so that people know what matters most and are set up to be successful.
Be sure leaders are behind the change initiative and have accepted the role they must play in order for change to succeed. Do not fool yourself into adding major change initiatives on top of people’s normal workloads. You are just asking for trouble.
3. Provide Relevant Support
Time any needed change-related training to coincide with when the new behaviors are to be practiced. Relevance and immediacy will help with the transfer of training from the classroom to the job. Train too soon and the skills will be lost; train too late and you will have missed opportunities to move toward the change goal.
4. Fix Meetings
Ineffective meetings are estimated to waste over $30 billion in the United States alone. Meetings related to change are no exception. One of the best ways to simplify organizational change is to ruthlessly avoid scheduling extra or ineffective meetings around the change.
Unfortunately employees report that the negative impact of a bad meeting can linger for hours in the form of complaints, churn, and decreased leader influence. Whenever possible try to incorporate change reports and knowledge sharing into regular meetings and use that same time for reinforcing and coaching desired new behaviors. Only hold meetings when there is a clear objective, agenda, and the right participants.
5. Actively Involve Stakeholders
Without high levels of engagement from those in charge of and impacted by the changes you seek, your change initiatives is most likely doomed to fail. Actively involve stakeholders across the board in the change design and planning process including its necessity, its rationale, its future benefits and its implementation.
Smart change leaders know that their success is dependent upon the people most impacted by the change so they seek the active and candid input of the workforce early and often. This is the way to gain true agreement and commitment – and usually really great and necessary feedback about what makes sense.
6. Test and Learn
Whenever possible test your change plans and activities with a select group of stakeholders. How you communicate change at every step of the journey is critical – so why not learn as much as you can before you begin the full roll out. Test out your thinking, timing, and communication plans with a focus group to make sure it is as effective, clear and compelling as it can be.
The Bottom Line
Organizational change is never easy. Be sure you thoughtfully and adequately prepare your work force for change and minimize the inevitable disruption it will likely cause. It will go far more smoothly as a result.
To get some research-backed tool to help simplify organizational change, download our Change Leadership Toolkit Now
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