Changing of Seasons: steps to effectively manage change

Changing of Seasons: steps to effectively manage change 

Changing of Seasons: steps to effectively manage change

In the coming months, the leaves will begin to fall and the weather will cool. There is nothing we can do to hold on to summer. Just like the changing seasons are inevitable, so is organizational change. In fact, in so many areas of today's environment, change is the one thing we can count on. An organization’s ability to remain competitive relies on its capability to effectively manage change.

Even with countless articles on change management studies, theories, and strategies, a majority of firms fail to manage change. In fact, the failure rate of company change programs is 70%. Making changes in your organization is not impossible. With the right focus and a well-defined change program strategy, firms can effectively manage change.

The concept of successful change management is simple. In order to change organizations, leaders must change organizational behavior. However, changing behavior can be difficult. Organizational behavior is comprised of a variety of aspects including firm structure, environment, culture, processes, communication patterns, and more. Recognizing and understanding how change affects all aspects of organizational behavior is the key to success.

Thorough understanding of your organization and proactive management of change will allow you to tackle the challenge head on. Follow the five steps below to successfully manage change in your organization. 

Understand the Current Environment

In order to affect change, leaders must understand the current state of their organization. Look at both internal and external factors. Identify organizational behaviors and how they relate to the overall function of the firm. Identify challenges within the firm and assess the changes needed to address the issues.

Establish
the Vision

 

Once the challenges have been identified, establish the vision for change. Answer the following questions: What needs to be changed? Why does it need to be changed? How can we change it? What does that change look like? What are the steps involved in changing behavior? What is the change plan? Visualize how the organization will be different once it has taken full advantage of the opportunity for change. An effective, inspirational vision motivates people to take action in the right direction, even if the initial steps are painful.

Communicate the Vision

 

People need to understand what will be different once the organization has successfully achieved the new vision. When they understand the ultimate destination, they are able to fully commit to it and can help make it happen. Communicating the vision is not simply telling people what is happening. The communication around the vision must be inspired, heartfelt, genuine, continuous, consistent, and reinforced. You cannot simply communicate the vision once. It must be continuously discussed throughout the organization in order for it to take hold, be understood, and ultimately, accepted.

Implement the Change

Change begins one step at a time – particularly when it comes to extensive changes. Have a plan. What steps need to be taken and when? Stick to the plan. Remember, organizational change happens when behavior changes. Lead by example. Monitor behavioral changes and take immediate action when people fall back to old habits.

Reinforce Change

 

To create lasting change, each step must be addressed and reinforced. Collect feedback from your team. Identify implementation difficulties, as well as areas of resistance. Make adjustments where necessary and reinforce the desired behaviors. And, most importantly, celebrate successes.


Resistance to change is to be expected. Start small. The first step may be difficult, but the next change and the one after that will be easier as the process to implement change and change itself become an integral part of your firm’s culture. Just as we can adjust to the changing of seasons, no matter how extreme the conditions, we too can adjust to changes within our organization.