Friday, December 19, 2014

Five Aspect in Leading Change challenges

The most critical element is a shared vision for the organization.

The speed of change is accelerated, organizations large or small spend significant time and resource to deal with the Big Changes such as radical digital transformation or small changes such as adopting a new software tool. However, statistically, more than 70% of change management effort fails to achieve the expected result, what are the critical elements in change management, and how to weave them more seamlessly to orchestrate a harmonized change symphony?

The most critical element is a shared vision for the organization. Change is usually required when an organization is expanding its business, its mission, or is installing/implementing some new technology. In all these cases, a vision provides the guiding light and direction. Then it is important for the managers to internalize the change. This is best done if they participate in the development of the vision. If they don't, then they need to think long and hard about what the change is for and how their part of the organization can contribute to it - and be as specific as possible.

Upward feedback is absolutely necessary. Then they need to communicate their understanding and the contributions they expect of their parts of the organization to their teams/ employees. It is best to do this before the change is implemented, as people are more willing to commit to changes if they have a voice in them. Change leaders must truly listen to what their people have to say about solving the issues identified, and not let their own prejudices and preferences get in the way. People have to understand how the change will affect them...their role, job responsibilities the WITFM...what's in it for me.’ There will always be 'blockers' as well, those that either overtly or covertly works against a successful change. It is effective to involve people 'up to their necks' in planning the change! No one person knows enough to always have the perfect solution.  Work with the informal opinion makers as much as the formal structure. It is important to get a commitment from the lower levels of an organization, and you have to listen to them about the issues (real or perceived) that they have.

Walk the talk: A big challenge is for the managers to change their own behaviors to allow their teams to do the change that is needed, especially if they are “hands-on” in their style. they must avoid unintentional comments/behaviors, it means that people will not believe their commitment (getting the work done is more important than the improvements - often not what you say but how you say it). The spirit of the organization comes from the top, the success of any change management effort starts with the leadership mindset, strategy, philosophy, and methodology.

Three-level change management: During the implementation of change initiatives (be it software, re-organization, new regulations), managers are confronted with leading change on three separate levels:
1) They have to internalize the change and its effects on them and their world. Quite often, this portion of the equation is left out.
2). They are the chief communicators to their employees. Consistently, the research shows that employees want to get information from their first line manager. It is more effective for that message to be delivered face-to-face by the manager. This may end up occurring even before the manager has been able to internalize and accept the change themselves.
3). They are the voice upward. It is their feedback that can result in modifications to the implementation process to ensure success. But this also puts managers squarely in the middle of a very uncomfortable sandwich.

Little 'c' change, Big 'C' change: Little c change - implement a new software tool, re-organize a department or Big C change - radical digital transformation, merge organizations with overlapping or duplicate functions? Little c change requires tools, training, and practice in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort. Big C change requires participants to understand the "why" and for leaders to clearly communicate the goals, expectations and success criteria and to hold managers accountable.

Change is not for its own sake, a clear vision, a systematic thinking and effective communication, the logical processes and exemplified change leadership are all the key success factors to overcome the challenges and manage changes smoothly.


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