How To Successfully Manage Change
Change is inevitable for a company to be successful. Your customers’ needs are changing. The way you do business is changing. Technology is changing.
The business world is constantly changing and you need to change with it or you will be left behind. Your competitors are not planning on sitting still and wait for you to catch up. Industry regulations are being changed whether you want them to or not. So how can you successfully manage change?
Accept That Change is Scary
The employees feel knowledgeable about the current set of expectations, procedures and software. The customers may grumble a bit but in general, they are comfortable in their routines. And now, that is all about to change.
Employees fear their jobs are in jeopardy. Systems administrators are concerned about breaking existing applications and managing a ton of support tickets. Customers are not prepared for a new process. Everyone is worried about the change. How do you smooth the rough waters? Change management.
1. Define the Change
Managing those changes and their impacts is the key to an effective implementation. The change must have a purpose and a benefit. The change is intended to improve something, fix something or create something. And the bigger the change means the bigger the impact. The bigger the impact means the greater the potential of something going wrong. The more that i s anticipated, the more prepared you will be for what may happen.
2. Plan for the Change
Creating a change management plan helps to mitigate the risks, increase acceptance and coordinate the implementation. Nothing will guarantee a flawless change implementation but having a plan improves the chances of a smoother rollout of those changes. Identify the impacts, both positive and negative along with the level of risk of their occurrence. The define mitigation efforts to prevent negative impacts or minimize their effects if they occur.
3. Communicate the Change
Helping people understand the need for the change will greatly improve the chances for the change to be accepted. Targeted communication at dedicated intervals help people to anticipate and prepare for the change. In a vacuum of information, people will fill in the gaps with what they fear or what they want to believe. Rumors tend to spread like wildfire. Having knowledge of the need, benefit and impact of the change minimizes those rumors.
4. Support and Manage Change
No amount of planning will fully alleviate the fear of change but managing the change helps to minimize the level of impact of the change. When a key leaders demonstrates visible support for the change, the change is more accepted by those around them. Address issues as soon as possible. Be transparent and communicate the results of the change, both positive and negative, for rumor control.
The better your company manages its changes, the better your company can grow, adapt, and succeed.