Change is hard. Not only does it feel uncomfortable, but it's also hard work! Most people are excited by Change as long as the Change does not impact their ways of doing things. Change can be haphazard, reactionary, and directionless. It can be intentional and board-driven with clear direction, purpose, and a clear understanding of the desired change process. Let us look at this very important, and yet often forgotten, piece of any transformative organizational process.
Why does organizational Change fail?
There are several recurring reasons that Change fails. These can fall on the organization, the management of the Change, or the implementation of the Change. But not the Change itself.
Change typically fails because:
- Leaders delegate the Change
- The Change isn't fully vetted
- There's a lack of transparency
- Decisions get made with incomplete or biased information
- The People impacted cling to what they know
- The end result isn't considered
- There's no plan with a focus on the people impacted.
Change Management is important
The name Change Management indicates that this is an active and planned process or set of events. Successful transformative organizational processes or initiatives proceed much smoother when Change is managed. It's important to note that Change is personal and political. Though there are Change Management standards and best practices, it's more of an art than a science. It requires the integration of people, their work processes, culture, and their hearts. Change brings a new pattern of thought, work, power, influence, and control.
Steps to Successful Change
While organizations and their cultures are as unique as Change itself, Change Management principles are universal. Review the steps below to begin your organizational Change journey.
- Normalize Change and Change Management.
Educate your team on what change management is and how to achieve it. Education should include:
- Bridges Change Curve – Ending, transition, New Beginnings
- Bell Curve – innovators, Laggards – strategy to address each
- Above and below the line behavior – how to address
- Get leadership involved.
Your organization’s leaders have three critical roles in successful Change management:
- Establish the direction and endpoint
- Articulate the vision, direction, and endpoint to the entire organization with the expectation of engagement
- What is the objective? – Create the why
- Who will it affect, and how?
- Who will lead?
- How will decisions be made? – Governance/Workgroups
- How will you get information out to stakeholders?
- How will you get feedback?
- Understand the culture, strengths, and challenges within the organization related to the proposed Change
- Identify Actionable Next Steps with an implementation plan, assignments, and due dates
- Create a process to measure Change and report findings
We said it before, but it bears repeating – Change is scary. Change is often resisted for the simple fact that it’s uncomfortable, i.e., scary. But it can also be a wonderful experience for all involved when managed correctly. Change Management is vital to the successful implementation of Change. Don’t let your organization overlook Change Management.