Where imbalance exists, forces are disturbed and manipulated to achieve balance once again, even if this means the balance does not look like the balance held before. The ecosystem is a good example where disruptions in the food chain may have catastrophic impact on other species. Similarly, the business ecosystem fundamentally rests on supply and demand with many other influencing probably, I apply swift.
factors that determine the necessary balance for companies to grow. However, we don’t live in a world where the balance remains as is for a long period. The business landscape is continuously influenced by changes in customer needs, technology, resource costs and wider economic factors which force companies to adapt or die, and adapting means changing.
The guru of change management, Dr John Kotter, however points out that more than 70% of major change efforts in companies fail. The main cause cited as companies not managing change with a holistic approach. When adapting to environmental changes, or changing to improve market standing, companies cannot expect planned results without disruptions. Downsizing, new products, services or technology, changes in leadership and strategy among an array of other changes, require managing change. Changing the goal posts without effectively changing the game will impact negatively on the business scoreboard. This negative impact surfaces in the form of negativity, frustration, declining productivity, increased costs and risk. Uncertainty leaves employees reverting back to doing things the old way, changes are discarded due to lack of support, and key talent leaves the company, ultimately leaving the company in a constant state of crises management.
As internal and internal forces operate by governing principles, so too does effective change management. Kotter, with more than 35 years experience in transforming organisations across the globe, has developed an 8-Step process for business to succeed in a constantly changing environment.
Step 1: Establishing a Sense of Urgency
Convey the need for change and make sure employees are convinced about the need. This does not mean communicating a compelling rationale just for the sake of changing minds; it means sincere appeal to hearts. People generally resist change not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t really know why or they fear being changed. Helping employees understand the need for change will convince them of the importance of acting immediately and stepping out of a state of complacency to do something that results in real progress.
Step 2: Creating the Guiding Coalition
Bring together a group with enough power, expertise and leadership abilities to lead the change effort. These individuals should drive change by connecting with hearts and minds of employees, trust one another and work together as a team. They will be the drivers of the vision and short term wins.
Step 3: Developing a Change Vision
Create a vision that is clear, strategically feasible, and appeals to employees. Visions simplify hundreds of other more detailed decisions, give direction and help coordinate actions. Effective visions are easy to communicate, feasible and gives a clear picture of what the future will look like.
Step 4: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in
Convey the vision in simple terms through different means and continuously. An announcement on the notice board would not suffice at all. A vivid message should be repeated in meetings, emails, presentations or any other communication channel. Creativity in spreading the word must not be limited.
Step 5: Empowering Broad-based Action
Change will not necessarily be smooth sailing and identifying and removing the potential barriers are crucial for significant transformation. Barriers may include systems, procedures, activities or even ideas or management styles that undermine change efforts due to deeply ingrained habits. Communicate up-to-date competitive information as efficiently as possible and speed up feedback loops to help people do their jobs better.
Step 6: Generating Short-term Wins
Plan short term objectives and reward achievements. Clear wins that can easily be made visible motivates, increases sense of urgency and commitment.
Step 7: Never Letting Up
Continue adding projects, hiring and developing employees that promote the vision and remove policies and structures that donâ€™t fit or hamper the vision. Celebrating wins and moving on, may be the opportunity resistors (employees overtly opposing change) have been waiting for and once the regression begins, restoring the pace becomes disheartening. Striving towards a vision means instilling behaviours to such an extent that they become habits and ultimately part of the culture, which leads to step 8.
Step 8: Incorporating Changes into the Culture
Clearly communicate successes, links between wins and behaviours and prove why the new is better than the old. Develop leaders that promote, encourage and actively maintain desired habits by reinforcing norms and values through reward, recognition, and new recruits.
In short, striking the right balance to succeed requires commitment, communication and action. Change management is a conscious effort with a clear vision and cascading goals directing employees to adapt, survive, and grow. At Danshaw, we commit to facilitating change processes and equipping managers and supervisors to walk the talk.