Organizational change is an essential element for a successful business. Frequently, a company’s inability to change may inevitably lead to its demise. Markets are constantly in flux, technology is rapidly developing, and a number of new and different challenges will face businesses at various times in their development. While many factors determine a business’ success, its ability to face change is a major contributing factor.
It’s essential for good leaders to seek out and tap into the type of talent that will be able to adapt to impending change. This is, perhaps, one of the most imperative skills for new employees, according to the 20th CEO survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This is because organizations are increasingly recognizing how important it is to be amenable to change in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many companies are resistant to change due to a variety of reasons. They like the comfort of what is known, and fear the risks that come with making organizational change. Unfortunately, this often leads to a dangerous stagnancy for the company which can ultimately stunt the organization’s growth. Luckily, there are ways to prepare companies for change and to anticipate how to handle resistance. Knowing how to do this will make the company much stronger and stable despite an increasingly uncertain future.
1. Frame change as Opportunity.
According to the Walk Me blog, change is often perceived as a threat by members of their organizations. As such, resistance is inevitable. Typically, people do not believe that change will bring increased opportunity, but rather that it will increase their stress levels and drastically change their overall workflow. Employees need to understand why the changes being made are necessary and how the changes will benefit not only the company, but the individuals within the company as well.
2. Allow input from employees.
Make sure that when implementing new changes, those who will be most heavily impacted will be taken into consideration. This means soliciting their opinions and advice, and then taking it seriously. They have insight that could be beneficial to the process, and if they are asked directly then they are more likely to advocate the changes rather than resist them.
3. Make sure that leadership is transparent and open.
Communication is a crucial skill among leaders in many contexts, and it’s no exception when it comes to encouraging employees to embrace change. An inability to communicate will do damage to an organization’s plan to change because it will damage trust between employees and leadership. If the benefits of a given change are not evident to all involved, they will not receive the support necessary to make them successful. Leaders should not only specify why a change is taking place, but should also clearly demonstrate what steps will be implemented and when.
If employees do not know what certain changes will bring, then they will be more likely to talk about them in a negative light or to fill in the blanks themselves. This rarely, if ever, encourages support. And without large-scale support, changes simply will not be as effective as they could be.
4. Leaders must be adaptable to new strategies and amenable to change.
At times, if a leader is implementing change using a certain strategy, he or she may not want to alter that strategy. However, sometimes these changes are absolutely necessary for achieving the desired goals. There are always going to be uncontrollable forces both within and outside the organization, and a truly effective leader will account for these changes and remain flexible. An inflexible leader is a definite barrier towards organizational change. The entire premise of implementing change is that the organization must account for volatile factors and adapt accordingly. If a leader does not do this when implementing change, the entire purpose of creating change can become obsolete.
This is why it is more important to focus on executing change rather than on continuous strategizing. Since strategies frequently need to change, creating one that is set in stone is ultimately unproductive.
Although implementing change can be difficult, there are certain ways to make it more manageable. Organizations will grow much stronger with a certain dose of adaptability and willingness to embrace change, but this means that leadership and staff alike must be willing to advocate and prepare for change to take place. With a strong sense of communication and transparency, and with a fluid plan of action in which all parties feel involved, creating organizational change is a manageable and beneficial endeavor. We at Stewart Cooper & Coon agree that framing change as what it is — an opportunity for improvement and innovation — is crucial for creating an environment in which employees play an active role in advocating specific organizational changes.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200