Effectively Managing Change

2024-03-08T09:34:14-08:00 March 8th, 2024|Tags: , , |

In recent years the term “change management” has become a buzz phrase for good reason. If you have ever encountered poor change management, you know why the concept should have a lot of “buzz”.

By definition, change management is “the management of change and development within a business or similar organization”. Sounds simple right? For some leaders, it is simple as it comes naturally to them, even without being conscious of it. But for other leaders, it can mean the difference between the decline of a business/organization or thriving through periods of change.

I became very aware of this concept when a change of leadership happened in an organization I was involved in. A new leader came in and immediately started making significant organizational changes with no discussion.

People soon became frustrated with the leader, some to the point of anger, as it was very apparent that their input was not wanted nor were the changes up for discussion. As a result, many valuable, long-standing people left and as time went on, the organization began to struggle. Ultimately, this leader was asked to step down. It took a long time for the organization to bounce back from this and a lot of good people were lost.

Was the negative outcome a result of the changes themselves being bad ones? I would say no, some of the changes were actually necessary. It was HOW they handled the situation, how they managed the change. So what can we learn about change management from this situation? Here are some important things to remember when you are leading change…

Visionary leadership and continuous communication are extremely important during periods of change. A leader may see all that needs to be done and just start making the changes they deem necessary without a second thought. But when the changes affect the people present, it is important to explain why the change is necessary, what the end goals are, and how it aligns with the organization’s mission and values. This helps to address concerns, build trust, and keep everyone informed throughout the change process.

Involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process. This helps to foster a sense of ownership and commitment among those affected by the change. Try to understand and address concerns and needs. By actively listening and acknowledging emotions and hearing people out, you may even develop some “change champions” who can help drive the change by promoting its benefits and encouraging others to embrace it.

Develop a comprehensive change management plan. This plan should provide plenty of time for the changes to be implemented. Done too quickly, they can cause a negative reaction from those affected and lead to turmoil, even if the changes are positive for the organization. Also, consider providing training and resources as part of the plan to ensure that everyone has the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to the new changes. You may even want to test the proposed changes on a smaller scale before full implementation.

If you encourage a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, this can help the organization stay agile in the face of future changes. Had the leader mentioned earlier been more aware of leading change and involving the people present, it probably would have gone better for not only the organization but for them as well. Effective leadership is crucial during times of change to ensure that the transformation is successful and that individuals within the organization can adapt and thrive.

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