Change, Change, Change
Are your leaders and employees equipped to better manage the rate of organizational change? Change is now a given for most leaders and employees. But what keeps most employees’ heads spinning, however, is the increasing rate of change that companies need to compete and win. It seems to happen faster and faster.
How to Keep Up
Businesses are thus challenged to adapt more often, more quickly. Even if your leadership can keep up with the pace, how about your work force? Rapid and frequent change puts extraordinary pressure on your employees…both personally and professionally. What can you do to mitigate the negative effects?
Four Tips to Better Manage the Rate of Organizational Change
Here are four change management consulting tips on one of the most crucial aspects of managing change well – how you communicate change to better manage the rate of organizational change faced by everyone.
1. Begin with the Big Picture
It is important to craft initial change communications carefully. Do not present too many details. They often don’t matter to the general workforce and they won’t be remembered.
Stay at a high level as you paint a clear and compelling picture of what needs to change. And remember how powerful visual images can be. If, for instance, your renewal business is faltering an image of a cowboy lassoing a runaway horse would stick in employees’ minds to illustrate the change needed. You get the idea – keep it simple and focused at first.
Empathize with the inevitable disruption the change will cause your workers. But stress that you have confidence that they can and will handle the change. You are there to support them and to answer any questions or concerns.
Using the example of building renewal business, outline the plan for training them in how to more fully engage customers and present expanded solutions. Make sure they know you appreciate their contributions to date and focus on the support and reinforcement you will provide to help learn the new way of doing things.
3. Explain the Rationale
Now you can bring in some detailed data. This is the point at which you need to convince the hearts and minds of your work force that the change is in everyone’s best interests – the company, your customers and your employees. Show that unless you change customer renewals, you will continue to lose ground to your competition.
Then share the implications if the changes are not made – to the company, to your customers and to your employees. As a company leader, you will need to check in frequently to see that you truly have employee buy-in and listen for their suggestions on ways to best effect the desired change.
4. Discuss How Success Will Be Measured
Depending on the size of your organization, discussions of the metrics of change may be better handled at the team level. Each employee should be fully informed as to how their job and responsibilities will be altered in light of the proposed change and how their performance will be measured. These should not be “pronouncements from on high” but should be worked out together with the team.
The more those affected by the change are actively involved in the details of the change from their point of view, the more likely they will be committed to its success.
The Bottom Line
Almost every executive team we work with is trying to increase time to market, time to close deals, and the time to make decisions. The speed at which change occurs demands more from everyone. Are your leaders equipped to lead faster?
If your leaders need to lead change, download our free Change Management Toolkit for Leaders
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