Given the ever-evolving markets and innovative technologies; ‘Change’ has become definite in every organization. Though managing change is tough, it can be implemented with less likelihood of failure when strategized efficiently.
At Matrix, we have been re-inventing ways of organizational and culture change through new techniques. We strongly believe that good organizational design can facilitate changes in a more professional and less resistant manner.
The reasons for change are many but crucially;
a. Distress and dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs
b. A desire to change by key stakeholders
c. Shifting market conditions e.g. a more competitive landscape
Whatever the reasons the change must be seen as practical…and a change for the better. The people driving the change must ensure that the change is properly structured to ensure that the changes are meticulously and smoothly implemented. Just so that there are real and lasting benefits.
Fundamentally, organization change draws on several disciplines – behavioural sciences, psychology, psychographics, right through to systems and processes. This stems from the essential understanding that change impacts the entire organization and the people within it. Hence the focus will need to be on people – both as individuals and collectively and how they move from the status quo to a new situation.
The truth is, in order to manage change effectively, one must consider the broader impacts of change as well as the impact it has on personal lives as people embark on a transition to working and behaving in a new way to support that change.
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So, what system works best? Frankly, there is no one proven methodology that fits every company. It’s horses for courses as the saying goes.
At Matrix, we apply a few guiding principles that have so far worked well for various brands.
Change is about people. Remember that in this situation leaderships could change and so will jobs, new skills will be required in response, and employees may feel uncertain which could lead to resistance.
Whilst change is an institutional one it remains a very personal one. As individuals, employees will want to know how they will be measured and what they need to do after the programme. More than that, they would like to contribute to the change process. Yes, people do matter and should be rewarded for backing the change. Management should consider the soft side of the issue and tread gently.
Once you get into the process of defining your objectives and action plan it is important to identify and select your ‘change agents’. These can be chosen from the executive board, department heads, HR, or project management. The agents will also be responsible for changing job descriptions, fresh contracts, and re-training.
Getting a ‘buy-in’ from the workforce is critical to the success of the transformation. Hence leaders should appeal to both head and heart and get people to work in favour of the change. The best way to do this is to get staff to identify problems and offer solutions. This is everyone’s business, isn’t it? This way individual goals can be aligned to corporate objectives.
It is crucial that the agents managing the change ensure that the transformation cascades right through the organization. Because in reality, it affects every layer of the company. People are not only informed at every stage in the process but motivated to participate in the change. This attitude should remain right through the change programme. It’s also a good way to identify emerging leaders.
The change agents should explain the new behaviour that will influence the new way of doing business. This requires setting goals and an action plan that helps that transition. For example, they need to understand that company culture is a combination of its history, principles, values, and attitudes.
Prepare for eventualities. Not all change programmes go as planned. Peoples’ reactions are unpredictable and there could be strong resistance. In this case, the change agents could quickly introduce a revised plan so there’s no downtime on business activity.
Remember, these are simply examples of typical change management activities. Each company is different, and you might want to introduce other programmes to suit your specific needs. This will give your change efforts a much better chance of success.