Change Management in Good Times and Bad
It’s a harsh rule, but one that’s hard to argue with: organizations change with the times, or they fail. Even the most old-school, “classic” brands undergo constant evolution behind the scenes to stay healthy and relevant, while they continue to present an unchanging, consistent image to their customers.
Successful change management is vital to the survival of your business. In today’s business world, the pace of change keeps speeding up, and the practice of change management keeps changing along with it. To be effective at leading effective change initiatives for their organizations, managers need to be aware of the latest trends in change management. Here are four key trends to follow:
1. Building Internal Capacity for Change Management
With markets rapidly evolving in response to technological advancements, the need for change and adaptation grows increasingly more frequent. As a result, more organizations realize the importance of building up internal capacity for change management. When a company has multiple change initiatives ongoing at the same time, often overlapping and impacting one another, the advantages of having an experienced, knowledgeable in-house team becomes clear.
Companies with a strong internal change management capacity can be more proactive about adapting to shifts in their industry. This gives them greater agility as an organization, and a competitive advantage over companies that approach change management from a reactive position.
2. Engaging Employees and Stakeholders in Innovative Ways
According to surveys conducted by the experts at Prosci, change management is most effective when it draws on large numbers of employees from every organizational level and department. More managers are integrating change management into project management, which fosters a degree of engagement that leads to greater success in meeting objectives.
Technological and cultural change has helped to bridge the distance between team members and their leadership. Collaboration tools like Slack and Asana have facilitated instantaneous communication and task management. Here at GoSpace, we believe that gamification has a huge role to play in motivating employees to fully participate in initiatives that drive large-scale organizational change.
3. Change Management is a Maturing Discipline
Increasingly, change management is being perceived as a legitimate field of study. This is leading to a greater willingness for organizations to invest money into it. Previously, change management had been regarded as more of an art than a data-driven science. Now, experts and specialists in change management are becoming more common.
We are starting to see more companies employ full-time change managers on staff, when in the past, change management would have been one of several duties handled by a manager — if a company even bothered to assign a dedicated manager to it at all. These specialists are able to identify measurable goals, benefits, and performance indicators that help businesses adapt to market forces quickly and correctly.
With change management coming into its own as a quantifiable science, sponsors of organizational change should be prepared to justify change initiatives by identifying objectives, progress indicators, and benefits that can be measured and analyzed.
4. Digital Transformation and Change Management
In many organizations, change management and digital transformation are in a sort of symbiotic relationship. The change management team handles the digital transformation initiatives, while the digital transformation provides tools and skill sets that facilitate more agile and effective change management procedures.
The takeaway here is to embrace changes that bring your organization up to speed with new business technologies. More often than not, holding out just means more work down the line. For example, this could be when you have no choice but to update old, legacy systems; or when changing out software and systems that are no longer supported.
By making sure employees are connected and communicating through up-to-date devices and platforms, sharing information, and staying on top of their ongoing education and skill development, you create a company well-positioned to handle whatever changes the world throws at it—whether those changes are large, small, expected, or not.
Every business engages in change management that chooses to keep opening its doors day after day, instead of folding up and closing. The question is, whether they do it in an unplanned, ad hoc way, or if they navigate through changes with intentionality and a solid plan.
When you’re reacting to changes that have already shifted the ground underneath you, you’re stuck playing catch-up. To stay ahead of the game in today’s business climate, nothing is more important than anticipating the changes coming your way and being proactive about meeting the challenges they pose. That is the essence of good change management — and following these four trends will help your business to that end.