Many potentially good initiatives fail due to a lack of strategy and misunderstanding. How should change be managed?
While the purpose of the initiative is often clear the way to implement it is shrouded in mist. Many organizational change initiatives often fail at implementation. While the benefits of the process are usually very clear and understandable it is a whole other matter getting the organization to willingly adopt the change.
As any process organizational change must begin with a strategy. What is the purpose of the change process but also: How to market it, how to introduce it to the organization and how to ensure employees and co-workers will willingly adopt it?
A few common mistakes in managing change have been mentioned in Laurent Keller Johnson’s article for Harvard Business Monday Morning (Leading Change and Succeeding). The following are common mistakes of poorly managed change processes:
1. Take the time to study organizational culture
Change will not happen on its merits alone. Furthermore, even though a process of change might offer much more to the organization or to its employees it will generally be regarded suspiciously. This is human nature. We are creatures of routine and habit. We fear the unknown. Thus, when managing change one must carefully examine organizational culture and understand the finer subtleties in order to better introduce change into the organization.
2. Get management commitment to change
No process of change will succeed without the commitment of senior management. A clear message regarding the process of change should be heard through out the organization. Employees and co-workers need to know the change is welcomed and required and they are a part of its success.
3. Take the time to identify opposition to change and subdue it
Identify the major oppositions to change and adopt to subdue it. No process of change will succeed with the worker’s union objecting to it or not being a part of it, for example. Take the time to meet and discuss change with the oppositions. More often then not this process will benefit both sides and lead to better results.
4. Set up a good implementation team
Implementation is key in processes of change. No process of change will succeed with out constant follow up and a tight implementation. Change requires close attention, and accompanying the organization and its members through. Employees and co-workers will always revert back to old routines with out proper guidance.
5. Identify good candidates for leading change through out the organization
Identify agents of change through out the organization promotes the process of change enormously. These agents should be leaders and central members of the organization look up to by other members.