A Fast Forward to Change Management
The consulting world is changing at a faster and unpredictable pace. Change is essential and inevitable and can take many forms, whether it is a transformation that affects the entire organization, a shift in engagement and employee retention, or an unplanned and remedial change. However, change is not always well taken. Many executives and employees resist change and see it as a disruption of their current operations. For the most part, it affects current operations and the work to be done by the organization's people. Suppose it is successfully managed by the leadership team and approached with a sound strategy. In that case, transformation becomes an opportunity to grow, innovate products and services to adapt to new technology, and shift the business to tailor customer needs - especially during the unique environment of the post-pandemic. In brief words, organizations need to catch up and stay ahead with the technological advances, evolving work environments, and people's culture.
How an organization transitions to change mainly depends on the level of sophistication of its change management program. By sophistication, I mean the mechanisms and leadership in place that will execute the change. In our previous blog, how does your organization adapt to change?, we highlighted nine common traits (purpose, direction, connection, capacity, choreography, scaling, development, action, and flexibility) that measure an organization's change management power. For now, we'll uncover three new trends expected for 2021 and how an organization can be prepared and remain agile to adopt these advances.
Trend 1 -Increase change management power
The Kotter Model offers a roadmap that change managers can follow. It is an eight-step process that leads you to create an effective and successful organizational philosophy to change. These steps will help you and your team increase your management power by preparing the ground from a pessimistic no change at all point of view to an optimistic and successful change. They are the following:
Step 1: Understand the nature of change and how it is perceived and explained by others, will manage it effectively.
Step 2: Create a team that will work on the process and implementation of change.
Step 3: Set the goals for change. It is important to understand the 'why' and map a plan to achieve the organization's objectives.
Step 4: Communicate what, why, and how of the change. Transparency is critical to gain the team's trust.
Step 5: Empower stakeholders to personally adopt change by learning and growing at the team level.
Step 6: Create short-term goals that will achieve changes on a small scale. Say the long-term goal will be achievable in a year. You can set goals to be reached in the first quarter.
Step 7: Maintain persistence by keeping the eyes on the prize. Focus on the goal and the roadmap.
Step 8: Make change permanent. Change is not a one-time thing; it is a continuous transformation.
Trend 2 -Manage remote work
It is already challenging to discuss the organizational change with the team sitting in a conference room. It becomes more difficult when part of your team is in the office while the other is remote. This hybrid scenario may not lead to optimal outcomes. People sitting around a conference table communicate more effectively than those remote. Remote employees may not feel comfortable sharing honest opinions in a virtual setting as they would in person.
Managers must create guidelines for meetings. For example, all employees may meet remotely on designates meetings, and all employees go to the office for important meetings. Although we acknowledge the flexibility of working off-site, in-person meetings have an important communication value. Managers can spontaneously call an employee in the office to edit or recreate a new document, a situation that is not feasible if the employee is remote. The optimum work platform depends on the nature of the business and the formality of the work.
Trend 3 - Agility and continuous improvement
Organizations need to adapt and evolve to succeed. This trend is not new; however, it is important to take steps to innovate as steady and cautious as you may be. Here are three examples of how you can start:
1. act quickly and assertively by reducing wasteful processes
2. pursue innovations without focusing on constant iteration and improvement
3. be open to risks and change, challenge the static process.
Innovation and continuous optimization are challenging to manage when your organization does not have corporate agility – having the flexibility to adjust to market or internal changes.
In summary, change is necessary and healthy for organizations, people, and the world. We recommend that your management team understands how your organization is equipped to handle change and what it needs to make it happen (refer to the Kotter model). The culture of work also plays an important role in managing remote work effectively, the employee's engagement, and teamwork. And the creativity to come up with innovations and manage risk to open the possibility of the value for continuous improvement.