Brexit. A fluctuating demand for your products. New laws. Changes in technology. Changes in human resources. New equipment. A shift in demand for skills.
We live in an age where change of one kind or another is inevitable.
Follow these steps and become a leader in managing organisational change:
- Understand why change is needed - Be clear about why change is necessary and desirable. What are the drivers pushing you towards change? They may be internal or external to your organisation. What are the opportunities and threats? This first step is fundamental and underpins the entire change process.
- Share your vision and values - Once you've understood why change is needed, it's time to communicate your ideas and vision to others (including key stakeholders). Explain what impact the change will have on them personally and your organisation as a whole. How will everyone benefit? By sharing your ideas and getting others involved, you'll identify those who support and champion change, and minimise challenges and setbacks later. This also creates momentum, ensuring change actually happens.
- Create a plan - Create a detailed plan to serve as a roadmap for your change initiative. Include key milestones and deliverables, scope out individual tasks and activities, and set out how you're going to reach your overall goal. Work with others - letting them modify your plan, if necessary - to increase 'buy in' and ownership.
- Provide information and resources - Make sure that any transition is adequately resourced and regular information is shared with others. Change may not be embedded fully if there isn't sufficient manpower, time, budget, etc, or if it's not clear what you're trying to achieve.
- Identify 'quick wins' or 'low-hanging fruit' - Get done first anything that can be signed off quickly, with minimal effort. This creates momentum, shows that you mean business and establishes your authority. There will be noticeable results, which can also wrongfoot your critics.
- Remove barriers to change - Be sure to tackle anything that is getting in the way of change or making it harder to do (e.g. outdated processes or procedures, organisational structure, bureaucracy, reluctant people, etc). Make sure anyone who makes change happen is recognised and rewarded, appoint champions and leaders to push change forward, and work closely with critics to make them understand why change is required.
- Make change stick - "Old habits die hard". If change is going to be permanent and lasting, you'll need to embed change in your corporate culture. Encourage senior managers to be vocal supporters of change, give praise to anyone who was instrumental in bringing it about, and use anecdotes so new recruits are aware of the journey you've taken.