Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Three Pitfalls in Change Management

Change is often difficult, you have to remove roadblocks, avoid pitfalls, get out of the “comfort zones,” and ride above the change curves, in order to move forward.

Organizations large or small are faced with more radical digital or management transformation now because the digital business ecosystem is still evolving. The digital dynamic continues to evolve with increasing speed of change and rapid integration of business across the globe. However, Change Management (the overarching term includes both transformation and change) has very high failure rate overall, what are key success factors in driving digital transformation? And which pitfalls on the way to keep business from championing transformational changes?

Business Frictions: Change brings forth new ways of doing things. It means both management and personnel must adapt to a new way of doing business and in some cases cultivating a new culture. The entire purpose is to give executive management visibility into what the team is doing. Many say change is not the problem, the problem is the friction to changes. The primary reason for change failure is resistance to change while the secondary reason is the inability of leaders to deal with resistance. Often change or transformation at organizational level needs to break down silos and has to be enforced by cross-functional collaboration. However, many organizations are not integral so seamlessly, often internal politics comes to the play for fighting the limited resource or taking the credit. In addition, to overcome change friction, the sponsorship for change is crucial as it is directly impacted on how Change Management being structured for focusing on adoption and usage in the first place. You can have an amazing presentation with the right stakeholders, but if the person delivering the message isn't your sponsor or key influencer in the room, people won't care, and change friction turns to be the very obstacle to the success of strategy management.

Blind spots: To identify the big WHY about the change and WHAT to change, the senior leader should have the ability to see the big picture, to complement the team’s viewpoint. Most teams operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world. Thus, there are numerous blind spots on the change management journey. There are also many senior leaders who failed to deal with blind spots because arrogance clouded their eyes; or they have a very homogeneous team who always “think the same.” Thus, too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusions. The low EQ mind is also the cause of blind spots. For a manager, especially a senior leader, it is the importance of dealing with the blind spots by learning how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The blind spots are perhaps inevitable, the point is how business leaders or managers should learn to deal with them seamlessly; how to build a heterogeneous team which can bridge cognitive differences, complement capabilities and skill set.

Mental Inertia: Change makes a lot of people nervous because it means they have to move out of their comfort zone, which causes mental inertia. Some say people like change, but they don’t want to “being changed.” People often resist changing because they don't understand how it is relevant to them. Sometimes it helps to get people talking about positive changes they have experienced and what made them positive then how they can use that to make small transformations towards the new goals. Either at an individual or organizational level, change needs to become an ongoing capability, not just one-time initiative. The trick is understanding that moving out of a comfort zone leads to the creation of a new comfort zone which in turn will require you to move out "of" it again. This continuous moving "out" of your comfort zone is complemented by the cycle of self-development and change capability building.

Many changes especially business transformation are difficult, you have to remove roadblocks, avoid change pitfalls, get out of the “comfort zones,” and ride above the change curves. The changing leadership is required to guide people through the different phases in order to flatten the curve and to accelerate the speed of change and leapfrog digital transformation.


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