Change is here to stay. You can't run away from it; you can't make it go away. You can't return to the good old days. You can't continue to do your job as you have always done it. You live in a work world with customers who are increasingly demanding. Technology is changing every aspect of work.
Doing more with less requires redefining staff roles and responsibilities, changing processes and systems, and refining service to customers. The need for your employees to make decisions and act quickly within the parameters of their jobs increases as customer demands and the need for a flexible workplace increase.
In this fast changing environment, change management skills are paramount if you wish to succeed. No matter your job, you must learn to manage change. Whether you love change or hate it, for a successful, fulfilling work life, you must manage change, and even more importantly, you need to take charge of change.
Change management is the process of helping individuals and your organization transition from the current state to the desired state. It involves tools, skills and best practices in areas that include:
- Executive leadership and support
- Employee Involvement
- Planning and analysis
- Building support through effective preparation
- Addressing factors that will create resistance to change
The goals of any change management process include reducing the distraction that the organization experiences while it moves from the current state to the desired state. Distractions include employees over-reacting and resisting change, changing daily priorities, changing company direction or vision that affects the goals and strategies of employees, and spending planning time on lower priority items.
A change management process can be organization wide and involve every employee or it can be more narrowly focused on a department, a work group, or an individual. The more people who are involved, the more time, energy, and commitment are needed.
Types of Change to Manage
Changes to manage are infinite currently. Some are whole organization change initiatives. Others are closer to home: departmental changes and personal changes. As a consequence, you may be experiencing the need to manage change in areas such as these.
- Changing mission or vision based on markets changing.
- Changing customer needs, requirements, and expectations based on available competitor products and approach.
- Changing employee needs based on generational differences, new employment laws, competitor best practices, and changing employee needs and expectations from work.
- Your department head was replaced by a new boss and his priorities are different than those of the former boss.
- You've been promoted and must learn a whole new job.
- The person who shares your office has moved to another department and you have a new roommate to get to know.
- Your child care provider is moving out of state.
- Your children's school moves to a year round schedule necessitating changes every few months.
Notice that the range of changes affecting you is wide. All of them require that you know how to effectively manage change even if you don't immediately regard changes as something you must manage.
What Affects Your Ability to Manage Change?
Your ability to manage change is affected by these factors.
- The amount of change currently occurring in your life affects your change outlook. When you are beset by changes everywhere, it is difficult to hold onto what is not changing. It is also difficult to manage many changes at once.
- People have different ways of regarding and reacting to change. Some people have difficulty adjusting to change. Uncertainty is a bad experience. Other employees love change and the challenge that change management inspires. Some people like to initiate change; other employees are much happier with the status quo.
Some employees need to talk about the changes – a lot. Other employees tend to suffer in silence. Some love to complain and others talk and talk and talk, but actually support the change. Others find ways to sabotage changes and undermine your organization’s efforts to move forward.
- Employees also have different amounts of experience with change management. The good news? People become better at managing change with experience.
- Various employees also have different levels of support in their lives. The amount of support from your spouse, significant other, friends, supervisor, and coworkers has an impact on your ability to manage change.
- Finally, the degree to which you feel change weary has an impact on how well you implement change management. Employers who introduce a new program every year, fail to follow up on them, and shift gears regularly can create a work environment in which employees are weary of committing to and pushing change forward.
You can learn and practice effective change management techniques. You will enhance your career and magnify your contribution in your organization. These tips and techniques show you how.