Two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Another to add is constant change in the workplace, which has now become the new normal.
It’s fair to say that, in one way or another, I am constantly supporting my clients to help their businesses and their people through times of significant change.
Change comes in many shapes and guises; whether it’s downsizing, finding new ways of working, shrinking budgetary demands or a desire for increased effectiveness. It seems that we only manage to bring ourselves over that sometimes illusive hill of the change curve before *SMACK* another comes to throw us off kilter.
The startling truth is that 70% of all change initiatives fail to achieve the targeted impact, often driven by a sub-standard approach by leadership and management, unsurprisingly resulting in overwhelmingly negative employee attitude.
Change isn’t going to stop, and we all have a personal responsibility for how we manage ourselves, support others and make any organisational change a success.
Is your glass half full or half empty? If you fear or dislike change for whatever reasons, you may respond negatively to each and every change that comes along. This is unhealthy for both you and those around you (especially if you are a people manager with this outlook!).
Learn to view each change with an open mind. It’s human nature for any change to make us ask the WIIFM question (“what’s in it for me?”), but rather than focus on the potential negatives, look for the opportunities that exist for you, your people and / or the organisation as a whole.
Challenge, but do it constructively. There’s nothing more demotivating than the death-knell of the “We used to do it like that 15 years ago and it didn’t work then.” Sure, that may well be the case, but use this experience to suggest alternative approaches to refine the change rather than find reasons why it’s doomed to fail in the first place.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Even if you have nothing or very little to tell people – in reality, no news is rarely good news and if you do nothing, people will form their own conclusions based on the limited information they have.
Use a variety of methods. Whether it’s face-to-face, briefings, bulletins, newsletters, Intranet, team meetings…put the information out there in a number of ways so that people can find and digest what they need when they want and need to.
Honesty is the best policy. Even if you are unable to discuss certain things, say as much rather than avoiding people’s concerns and worries. Aim to win people over to make them champions of your change and allies, not foes.
Making Organisational Change a Success
Last but never least, follow a structure to plan, implement and evaluate the change. There are a myriad of options and whatever structure you choose should be tailored and regularly reviewed to ensure there is room for flexibility.