Globalization and continuous technological innovation have resulted in a rapidly evolving business environment. Social media and mobile adaptability have revolutionized business, creating an ever-increasing need for change–and change management.
With the business environment experiencing so much upheaval, organizations must learn to manage and adapt to change, a feat that remains profoundly difficult. The structure, culture, and routines of many work teams reflect a persistent and difficult-to-remove “imprint” of the past, making them resistant to radical change, even if the current environment of the organization is constantly shifting.
We’ve all heard the saying: “But we’ve always done it this way!” This short sentence is the enemy of change, and so is fear, rush, and lack of consistency, to name the main few.
Enemy #1: Fear of the Unknown
There’s a wide range of reasons why people do not embrace change, but they often relate back to fear. Fear of the unknown is something we can all relate to in one way or another. It’s often difficult to leave the well-known comfort zone, especially if we’ve been in it for a long time:
“Will I lose my job?”
“Will my working hours be reduced?”
“Will we now need to learn new programs, processes and rules?”
These are some of the most common questions that employees ask themselves but are often afraid to voice. Managing change is not a one way street; employee involvement is a necessary and integral part of managing change. Feedback from employees as a change is being implemented is a key element of the change management process. The more information that is shared, the less threatening and scary the process is.
Enemy #2: Rushing Into Change
When implementing change, organizations often make one crucial mistake—they want to act fast, and they assume everyone will follow at the same speed. Managers responsible for change make theoretical assumptions as to how things will look like at the end of the road. They see the final goal and want to move toward it as soon as possible, forgetting that that there may be employee, departmental or system obstacles along the way.
Enemy #3: Lack of Consistency
The change management process involves a lot of elements which, if used correctly, should naturally and smoothly complement one another. That’s the theory, but what about reality? How often do we hear random pieces of information being shared around the office about an upcoming change? Or conflicting statements and rumors? Inconsistency while managing change will inevitably lead to failure.
According to Kotter International:
“More than 70% of all major transformation efforts fail. Why? Because organizations do not take a consistent, holistic approach to changing themselves, nor do they engage their workforces effectively.”
Your Change Management Checklist
So what’s the best approach then? To help you manage change the right way, we’ve created a handy change management checklist that will help you get started on the path to successful change management. It is not an easy process, but it can be painless and smooth when approached with care and preparation.