Six Tips for Organizational Change Management

Dana Youngren Written by Dana Youngren

Just the mere mention of the word “change” brings excitement to some people while it makes others bristle with fear. In an era where a major corporation can go belly up overnight, or new regulations could slow down an entire industry, sudden uncertainty that forces employees to deviate from regular routines can cause doubt within an organization. This is why organizational change management is necessary for all businesses. 

Change doesn’t just happen in the worst of times either. Sometimes, new policies need to be instituted based on events that happened in the industry, or new technology systems need to be installed to keep up with competitors.

As an executive, it’s important for you to not only anticipate change, but cultivate support and acceptance among your employees. An Ivey Business Journal study reported that “change projects and processes fail twice as often because of organizational resistance rather than a technical issue.”

So how do you go about properly implementing new processes, strategies, revenue models, or technology systems in an effective way, while also getting the maximum amount of buy-in from your employees?

The answer lies in organizational change management (OCM). OCM is the framework in which organizations manage the effects of new business processes, changes in cultural structure, or changes within an enterprise. The primary focus of OCM is the people that are affected by this change.

Organizational change management is especially complex to manage for companies with flat organizational structures, remote employees, and a rapidly changing business environment. So many companies have adopted one or more of these best practices to ensure effective OCM.

Start at the Top

No project gets accomplished without the buy-in of the top executives at your company. It is your job to work to understand any question or concern they might have, and to work with them to either help them understand an issue they might have, or alleviate it altogether. If they won’t sign off on the particular project you’re working on, it might never get implemented.

Interview Employees

When you implement a particular project, do you really know what kind of change you’re enacting? It is critical as the project sponsor to truly understand employees’ feelings towards the project. This way you will be able to understand the specific issues that might be affecting employees for that particular project, which may force you to make modifications that benefit everyone.

Find Your Early Adopters

When implementing a new project or policy within your company, you need advocates who will help spread the message and get other people on board during the transition. Work to identify those people within your company. They are usually the ones who have strong leadership skills and a propensity to attract respect from others. Give these early adopters the additional training they need early to help eliminate resistance to your project. And delegate responsibilities to them so they have a stake in the success of the project as well.

Have A Plan

A project without direction never goes anywhere. It’s important to have a plan for every step in the process. Otherwise, your project could get off track early and never be implemented. Your plan should continually answer three questions: Where are we? Where are we going? And how are we going to get there? You must also have a vision of what the end result is supposed to look like.

Stay Committed To The Change

As the person in charge of organizational change management, it is important that you focus on implementing the change in its entirety. Abandoning it halfway through destroys any credibility you might have and will cause others to do the same

Keep Everyone On The Same Page

There are a lot of moving parts behind enacting even the most small-scale change in your company. Communicate with your team and be transparent during your organizational change management so you can keep everyone in the loop about completion milestones, making your project workflow that much easier.

Change is complicated for any organization. Without a way to enact effective organizational change management systems within your company, you risk not only internal in-fighting that will disrupt your workflow, but a lack of innovation that will slowly pull customers away from your business.

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