Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Principles in Managing Change Continuum

Change is a digital continuum.

Change is a volatile subject, just like change itself. Everything changes continuously by following the laws of evolution, and the rate of change is accelerated. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to operate smoothly. An organization achieves this state of equilibrium through its management practices. The strong support for continuous improvement is an essential strategy. The old stimuli of needing to change because of IT, major competitors or new market entrants are no longer the only catalysts for change. And today it is so much more about sensing emerging customers’ needs and creating new markets. The inevitable range, breadth, and pace of uncontrollable factors acting on any organizations mean constant fine tuning is essential. Change is not for its own sake, it is an ongoing business capability to execute the strategy and compete for the future. Here are three aspects of managing today’s change continuum.

People buyer-in: People really don't like change and want the familiar things. People are creatures of habit and change is stressful. To make a change strategy effective, you need to help people see 'what's in it for them' to facilitate real change. Commitment is on the other side, simply put, you need 'buy-in'!  Even with buy-in, it is difficult for them to change habits and routines. Many executives believe they can accomplish change by simply mandating the change, but it is not that simple. The most challenging aspect of any Change Management plan is to gain engagement to the whole workforce. Motivation is right following inspiration. Disregarding motivation will push resistance to very high level and performance on the lowest; therefore, you won't be able to change. It is more effective to well mix the bottom-up and top-down approaches. Once a road map has been throughout and has 90% supports, one must have the determination and staying power to hold one's chosen course. Leadership confidence and commitment will reassure those who have doubt. Second when progress is achieved be sure to let all know about it along with specifics.

Silo break down: Silos are inevitable in every structured organization. Silos are a method of containment and storage: bounded groups or insular tribes are evidence of silos, and silos are reservoirs for homogeneous thinking, limiting the organization's creativity and innovation. Silos are opposite of the strategy alignment to achieve its vision, its mission, and its goals. If you find that you need to organize in silos in order to be effective then there's a good chance, you don't have an overall organizational strategy. A good strategy should diagnose business issues with a holistic viewpoint and systematic thinking, to set choices and take actions via cross-functional collaboration, and continuous interaction. It is the responsibility of the leaders to initiate his or her team to break down the silos to realize the common goals or strategy which are far more important than the personal and departmental goals. Fostering collaboration is the key to creating a seamless organization when in pursuit of a strategy.

Measure the right things and measure them right: The challenge with measuring change has to do with the complexities of the organization that is imposing change upon their employees. How do you design metrics to measure what changes and how these changes are measured? What is the relevant metrics and how can they be quantified and validated? When you measure the end and not the means, the silo walls will become retractable. The problem stems from the way outcomes are being measured. When the collective outcome is the focus, the silo walls collapse. When individual and departmental outcomes are measured, the walls go up. In other words, what are the organization's rewards and recognition structure perpetuating? Differentiated performance metrics and rewards systems tend to bring this shift in perspective about, but they too are a necessary aspect of how an organization operates -- until they become counterproductive and have to be changed. Oftentimes, the organization may not have the systems and structures in place prior to implementation to actually monitor and track the change. Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now, and then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete.

Change is the new norm and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. Change can not be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. In today's work environment. It takes a lot of energy to break habits and outdated thought processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace. If you make change part of your routine, then change becomes easier to deal with, and change also becomes a competitive business capability in thriving at today’s “VUCA” digital dynamic.


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