Organizational change initiatives fail at an alarming rate
The digitization spiral is driving tremendous changes in the ways businesses and other organizations operate. Many traditional organizations are beginning to accept, in theory at least, that they must either change or die.
Strategically managing organizational change is critical to implementing new programs and initiatives, and ultimately, to achieving an organization’s success. Still, organizational change initiatives fail at an alarming rate. This is because most initiatives fail to consider how changes affect the people in an organization.
To successfully implement change initiatives, organizational leaders must identify the need for change and communicate it throughout the organization.
Engage people at all levels of the organization – Successful change management happens at the bottom
They must also engage people at all levels of the organization by involving them in the design of the implementation strategy.
Leaders must actively involve the people most affected by the change in its implementation. This will help ensure employees at all levels of the organization embrace the proposed changes.
Be wary of expressions like “mindset change” and “changing people’s mindsets”
Be wary of expressions like “mindset change”, and “changing people’s mindsets” or “changing attitudes”, because this language often indicates a tendency towards imposed or enforced change, and it implies strongly that the organization believes that its people currently have the “wrong” mindset, which is never, the case.
If people are not approaching their tasks or the organization effectively, then the organization has the wrong mindset, not the people. Change such as new structures, policies, targets, acquisitions, disposals, etc., all create new systems and environments, which need to be explained to people as early as possible, so that people’s involvement in validating and refining the changes themselves can be obtained.
Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties. Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.
Tell a compelling change story
Management need to be able to tell a compelling change story that motivate employees. Before you you get buy-in, people need to feel the problem. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.
Workshops are very useful processes to develop collective understanding, approaches, policies, methods, systems, ideas, etc. Storytelling can be a powerful tool when you want to drive organizational change.
Staff surveys are a helpful way to repair damage and mistrust among staff – provided you allow allow people to complete them anonymously, and provided you publish and act on the findings.
Management training, empathy and facilitative capability are priority areas – managers are crucial to the change process – they must enable and facilitate, not merely convey and implement policy from above, which does not work.
You cannot impose change
You cannot impose change – people and teams need to be empowered to find their own solutions and responses, with facilitation and support from managers, and tolerance and compassion from the leaders and executives.
Management and leadership style and behaviour are more important than clever process and policy. Employees need to be able to trust the organization.