Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Handle The Buy-in Cycle of Change Management

A digital organization with strong change capability is an environment of growth and letting go, possibilities, chaos, solutions, innovation, and creativity.

Generally speaking, Change Management has very low percentage of success rate due to varying factors such as static mindsets, poor processes or bad timing, etc. The big “WHY” about change is always fundamental because change shouldn’t be for its own sake, it must have a clear business purpose or a progressive goal. From Change Management perspective, handling the buy-in cycle is an important step or the prerequisite for managing a successful change effort effortlessly.

Change Management is leaders' game and leadership involvement is a must: Change starts with a "sense of urgency" which can only come from top management. The commitment of top management is very important for any change to be successful. There is a big difference between 'total buy-in' and 'support.' Total buy-in involves top management being able to fully articulate the change, as well as their ability to provide all necessary support where and when it is required. One thing about buy-in always fails when management thinks they got all the answers and they come up with a plan in a vacuum and try to sell. Top Management must not devolve the entire change management to middle management. Management needs to allow the cross-functional change community to have a voice for feedback. They must be fully involved to ensure buy-in and commitment on the lower levels. The democratic change process is to have the team own a process by bringing them in early and getting their involvement in creating the process for making change easiler. Sometimes, the problem is that the leadership gets really into the change but fails to bring others along. Knowing the psychological process is just a necessary element that a change leader must master.

Communicate the need for change so that you'll all enjoy a growing and healthy organization: Emotions are very important as change is a personal thing. There are both psychological curves and knowledge/methodological curves for changes. Make everyone aware that there is a better way and explain it smoothly. Coach people to shift from the belief that change is "loss" to a belief that change leads to "growth" and growth leads to organizational viability, relevance, and long-term prosperity. Find out what people’ real concerns are. Listen, ask tough questions. Be there when the difficult problems pop up. Deal with the real concerns of those who can put up roadblocks. In practice, deliver a change management training to a large group of people, increases the group's ability to get through the denial and resistance phases easier. Taking the time to communicate the expected outcome with consideration of the "right" way allows the team to have room make success progressive and change sustainable. The processes you go through must be empathetic and as such will be subtly different for each one. If you try to force them to a one size fits all (formulaic approach), even you change the behavior, but change cannot sustain because the mindset hasn’t been changed yet.

Knowledge building, change agent recognition, and lessons-learned are also important for handling buy-in cycle and well preparing the change journey: Change curves exist because these days it is pretty tough to get attention as there is so much going on. Each person has their own change curves. Change agents are the leaders, change specialists, change champions, team players who orchestrate and collaborate to accomplish the desired changes and transformations. A Change Agent is a means toward reconciling all the different factors toward a unifying and driving motivation but it isn't the only answer. What a Change Agent most often does is harness the skills, talent, drive, passion and enthusiasm of the whole organization and direct that to a unifying and shared goal. The change agent is not a title, but the game-changing mindset and the well-tuned skill sets. The real skill of a Change Agent is the ability to play any role and know which to play, and when. It's also wise to recognize change champions who lead change on the company's terms and timelines so the organization can stay relevant and healthy in a rapidly changing world. When every team player becomes a change agent, then change is sustained.

The speed of change is accelerating. A digital organization with strong change capability is an environment of growth and letting go, possibilities, chaos, solutions, innovation, and creativity. By handling buy-in cycle smoothly, Change Management can become an enjoyable voyage to discover the new landscape of business and an ongoing business capability.


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