Thursday, August 1, 2019

Three Approaches to Manage Intensive Change Successfully

At the end of the day, change is never for its own sake, it’s about business improvement or innovation.

Due to the “VUCA” nature of the digital era, change is unavoidable and digital disruption is inevitable, with high intensity. There are so many things need to be changed, and there are also so many drivers behind changes. It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary. The change managers have to ponder: Where do synergistic attainment of strategic business goals and high returns on investment occur? Which methodologies should you experiment with and what approaches will you take to improve management effectiveness?

Nonlinear change management: Digital enterprises are inherently complicated, the highly intensive changes do not happen in isolation from each other in predictable ways, but act as a complex system feeding, amplifying and ameliorating the change effect. With emergent digital technologies and powerful enterprise collaboration platforms, organizations are shifting from the overly rigid organizational pyramid to a flatter structure with blurred functional border and a mix of physical and virtual environmental setting. A part of a dynamic business system emits more energy than it is normally supposed to, that is going beyond the linear response of the part. The business nonlinearity comes through different characteristics such as mixed structures, diversity, volatility, ambiguity, unpredictability, and increased flux. Thus, the linear business system perception and management discipline needs to be replaced by highly adaptive digital system viewpoint and nonlinear management discipline. Change Management is no longer the isolated activity or one time business initiative but an iterative business continuum. To change an organizational system, you must understand the concept of the true meaning of the nonlinear organizational dynamic. Radical change often needs to restructure the root of the company such as values, beliefs, and objectives, besides the hard business components tuning such as process optimization or technology update. It’s also important to leverage Systems Thinking in Change Management, to communicate within the spiral of conscious awareness and apply interdisciplinary approach to manage change systematically.

People-centric Change Management: Traditional Change Management is often process-driven, but digital change management has to be people-centric. Change comes from within the hearts and minds of the people. The most challenging aspect of any change management plan is to gain engagement with the workforce. For change to be embraced by stakeholders, they ultimately need to understand why it is an improvement and what it will improve for them. Change happens when changing is easier than maintaining the status quo and, more importantly, when people no longer feel threatened by it. Understanding the psychological process behind the change is just a necessary element that a great change leader must master. And such knowledge is part of understanding human behaviors. People-centric change methodology is evident reinforcement and proof of "best practice" of digital management.

The hybrid change management with the right mix of bottom-up and top-down approaches: The top executive sponsorship is critical for Change Management success. Change needs to be inspired from top-down, leadership confidence and commitment will reassure those who have doubt. To make change real successful, you need streamlined management to deal with ideas, discussion, funding and empowering at low levels for implementing changes and rewarding for achieving better business results. One sure fire way to make the change process tougher is to have upper management come in with an "iron fist" and just change things, without bottom up engagement and feedback. Successful Change Management starts with effective communication which is like the bridge to keep people evolved and updated. Communication has to flow via all different directions - top-down, bottom-up, inside-out, outside-in, middle-out, cross-functions, etc, also through common business language, not the functional dialects, in order to keep all parties at the same page. Change Management goals are far more important than the personal and departmental goals. The right mix of bottom-up and top-down change management practices are crucial to both embed change into business DNA and integrate change management into strategy management for building the business change competency.

At the end of the day, change is never for its own sake, it’s about business improvement or innovation. Change Management has to make an objective assessment of whether change efforts achieve the expected business results, The management system needs to be the alerts you put in place that act as tuning forks to enable you to view the timing, tempo, and harmonies going on, or not. Nowadays, organizational change becomes common practice within an organization, it needs to be treated as a strategic function to reach its full advantage.


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