Change Management Process & The Human Cost of Change
Your people are your greatest asset. But people are often uncomfortable with change, regardless of what kind of change it is — a system update, new strategy adaptation for process improvement, or even additional headcount. Unfortunately, it’s a common challenge leaders must face, and it’s not always easy to resolve.
Navigating the Change Management Process
Change is a constant any way you look at it. But effective transformational leadership requires supporting teams through the stages of acceptance. It will either give you an advantage in the marketplace or it could be detrimental to your bottom line in the short- and long-term.
To make any organization run well, it takes a variety of people, in several positions, with a plethora of backgrounds, skills, and experience to be successful. That same diverse group of people may have an overall goal of the organization thriving, but to get there it takes several ways of effective and successful communications. But what’s the right way?
Change management traditionally starts with structure and policies. But if you want to make a real difference, there is a step that comes before the normal starting point — it all begins with people. Because everyone is so different, learns in various ways, and communicates so vastly, it’s imperative to begin any change initiative by knowing your people first.
Here Are a Few Tips to Get Started
1. Understand Human Values
That includes personal values, organizational values, employee values, and connecting with the community. Learning about each of these values will help you to define who the company is and what matters most.
But do organizational and individual values directly align?
Of course not. Not everybody in the organization will share the same values, but learning what drives everyone, and finding ways to connect their motivations with the goals of the organization will mutually benefit everyone.
This is where a value analysis can help you connect the organization’s vision with the people’s values.
2. Understand Human Emotion
Change can bring many feelings, though most are associated with a negative connotation, like a disgruntled employee. When people are asked to do something different, they are being taken out of their comfort zone. This can cause a negative emotional reaction that is often misunderstood and/or underestimated. By understanding how emotions react in a state of change can lessen the effect and cause a much smoother transition.
3. Appreciate the Importance of Communication
Explaining all the key information (who, what, when, why, how) is critical to change management. Frequently, decisions that are made at the top of an organization either are communicated extremely slowly or not at all to the front lines.
There could be a plethora of reasons for this, including leaders fearing information overload. However, reaching all levels in the organizations, during times of transformation, is extremely important. Not knowing or understanding what’s going on can lead to several negative outcomes. It can prevent:
Not being able to work effectively toward the company’s goal
Lead to seeking other opportunities
The important thing to remember is that you must always share the same message. The language may change based on your audience, but consistency is key.
4. Cement your Messaging
Communicating an effective and consistent message cannot happen until you and your team have decided what that message is.
Who are you as an organization?
Why do you exist?
What is your great purpose or vision?
What are your values?
What exactly are you offering to your customer?
How is the change at hand going to impact the current and future goals of the organization?
These can be hard questions to answer and answering them may at first seem unnecessary or redundant. Be assured, that this analysis will help you connect your people to your great purpose. Belief in your company’s goals is what ultimately will push your employees to go the extra mile for you.
It Starts and Ends with People
Ultimately, good technology, processes, and/or systems are valuable, but in the end, people are your greatest asset. Their commitment is required to make your vision a reality.
Understanding how to make the company function efficiently AND what works best for your people may sound difficult, but the benefits that come from tackling them together could mean the difference between failure and success.
Trust, communication, understanding, values, and engagement are critical…get it right, and the dream of a smooth transition could truly become your reality.
How Aspirant Can Help
Aspirant's Org Accelerator™program has proven extremely effective in helping clients streamline change management initiatives. It is designed to jumpstart a company's collaboration and performance in just 12 weeks.
If you would like to request a casual discussion about your company's unique challenges, you can reach our Organizational Effectiveness team through the form below.
Any questions or feedback? We'd love to hear from you.
Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.