Saturday, May 16, 2015

Five Principles to Manage Change Effectively

Business Change Management is managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working to harness innovation and improve productivity.

Traditional Change Management is all about management and control. Real change is all about appropriate leadership and management. Anyone who has successfully worked with the change in organizations and businesses know that the change process is unpredictable and a moving target; it's less about management and more about leadership. So what are the principles to manage change effectively and efficiently?

Empathy: Engaging the workforce in advance is always a good approach. Letting people understand the “what” and “why” of the change is a very good tactic. Organizational Change is always difficult, and many organizations have the symptom of “change fatigue,” but if you can invest upfront and do a good job of communicating why the change is needed, to have empathy by letting people figure out What’s in Me,” the easier it may become. In the risk of invalidating the current culture and everything that is working, with this approach, you keep the opportunity open to defining and leveraging current strengths during the change process. In order for change to be effectively implemented within an organization, it needs to navigate through the various cultural filters that will interpret, or misinterpret its intent, impact, and methodology.

Priority: Setting the strategy is not too complicated. Managing the operation is quite easy. But the challenge is to set the priority right and manage the tactics. It is difficult to take the decisions in which order do the changes and prioritize between changes. It is important to prioritize things, make use of clear targets, communication and have perseverance will make the change happen. When it comes to tools to ensure optimal change, a focus that goes beyond the change implementation itself and makes managers ready to handle change before change is even on the agenda (if possible).

Simplicity: Most of the times, simplicity can improve flexibility, and flexibility is often contrasted with "adaptability" -- the ability easily and quickly change or adapt according to circumstances without necessarily anticipating them or adding anything explicitly for that circumstance. As Einstein wisely put: make things as simple as possible, not simpler. As a manager, you can work on becoming a better change leader every day by focusing on one or more of the following angles:
(1) how you handle complexity when managing change.
(2) how to understand and lead others effectively.
(3) how to ensure the best possible work conditions for getting things done before, during and after a change initiative.

Balance: Change becomes the new normal, however, either to manage incremental improvement or radical transformation, “balance” principle means that you need to keep the business running forward with certain even you have to “rock the boat” accordingly. It means to strike the right balance between stability and agility. From a management perspective, Change Management always goes hand in hand with strategy management. It means to strike the balance via managing two separate, but coherent delivery modes. One focuses on stability to “keep the lights on,” the fundamental management responsibility to support business and serve internal customers, but also manage changes via strengthening effective leadership skills and catalyzing changes by leveraging the following pairs of factors:
-Candor and diplomacy
-Opportunity vs. risk
-Logic and creativity
-Analysis vs. synthesis
-Centralized vs. decentralized control
-Confidence vs. humility
-Stability vs. dynamism

Holism: Systems Thinking (ST) is to understand how the “part” interconnected with the”whole.” And the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Enterprise is the complex system, every change initiative, either at a functional level or corporate scope, has to make sure business as a whole is optimal than the sum of pieces. Hence, corporate change management needs to follow the “holism” principle to enforce cross-functional communication. This is always a good start when working to build "border-less" collaboration, understanding where each is coming from and having some trust from them. This is something that you should work towards. And organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions surpasses our brain's capacity to be able to do whatever it does with smaller scales. It's important to leverage ST to understand the variety of business relationship and manage change in a more systematic way.

Business Change Management is managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as Stakeholder Management, Communications, Process, or organizational change, training, business Readiness etc. Besides following the above five change principles, the leaders have to show humbleness and respect and starts to listen. If not, the leader overshadows every germ the light of a new perspective. The change can never grow. In a culture change approach, or even in an intercultural collaboration, empathy, respect and listening are the top change leadership principles of successful culture shaping and other change practices.

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