One of the hardest things for people to do in life is to initiate change. Comfort and complacency can get in the way of making progress. The ability to change becomes harder in the workplace because, instead of one person having to change his or her ways, an entire company must pivot and change direction. For managers, this becomes even more difficult. Since they are in a position of power, they are responsible for not only initiating change but also communicating it and ensuring it is made effectively.
Change is an important element of progress, however, and there are several strategies that can be used by change agents to ensure success:
While this might seem obvious and self-explanatory, sometimes it is the most obvious steps that are overlooked. Before any change can be made, upper management should create a plan and come up with internal protocols as to how this change is going to be carried out. Trying to implement major changes in management without having a plan can lead to problems.
Planning for change offers all parties a step-by-step guidebook as to how the changes are going to be implemented. This plan should include:
• Key decision points that direct people to take certain actions according to their roles.
• Phases of change and who manages each step.
• Anticipated solutions to problems that could arise along the way.
As the changes are taking place, it is vital for manager to maintain open lines of communication. This allows the entire team to remain informed as to how the plan is proceeding and what changes need to be made to it.
Organizational change impacts everyone. As different areas of the organization change, it is important that they coordinate their actions with the entire business. If one department is struggling with the changes, the rest of the company needs to be aware, so they can adapt to compensate for the struggles. If those involved don’t communicate, the entire plan could derail, and the change could end up side-tracking the entire business.
DON’T NEGLECT THE HUMAN CONNECTION
A human connection is vital to the change management process as it moves forward. Within larger companies, it can be easy for leadership to get lost in the numbers and forget about the human element. Those are all individuals who are going to be impacted by the changes as the plan is carried out.
Every piece of the business should have a spokesperson. This person should act as a friendly face who can relay concerns from the top to the employees and vice versa. This spokesperson is going to be a vital line of communication for everyone involved and will help make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. In this fashion, people can ensure that they aren’t left behind as the business moves forward. Anyone with concerns regarding the change should talk to the spokesperson. Everyone in charge should take the time to listen to the spokesperson and the concerns of the people they represent.
Change can happen in any number of areas. A business can face a management change, a technology change, a focus change, or other shift. Whatever area is changing will have to be continually monitored and any plan will have to adjust according to the events surrounding and impacting the business.
TEST THE PLAN
As your change management plan is being implemented, it is important to be vigilant as each step is being carried out. Watch every department and see how they react. Analyze the numbers as they come across your desk. Talk to consultants and figure out how they feel the plan is going. Finally, have checkpoints along the way at which the plan can be reviewed. See if any department is lagging behind and revise the plan to address these concerns.
You should expect that any plan will need to be altered and fine-tuned along the way. A strong manager will continue to adapt the plan to changes in the workplace according to feedback from managers and employees. This continuous adaptability is what will set the business apart and allow it to remain competitive as the global business landscape continues to grow.
These are only a few of the keys that will help managers handle change. The most important takeaway is that it is important for managers to plan effectively and solicit feedback along the way.
To learn more about becoming a manager and the importance of change, visit New England College online today.