Change management: what is it and how does it work?
Post by Hansen Beck
Is it time for a change? Taking the next step in your company can be intimidating, but is sometimes necessary. We have seen that most companies are using change management at some point in their journey. Maybe because they have grown and gained more staff, or because they want to transform their processes and have new objectives. Change Management is a personal journey that will start with ourselves and managing our emotions in order to make adjustments.
What is Change Management?
We believe that some companies are ready for a change, but they don't always recognize it. It is often external people in the organisation who see areas for improvement. However, this is not always the case. When founders of the company recognize that alteration is necessary, change management is indispensable.
Change is important to grow and build the company. Instead of quickly making decisions and acting without thinking first, change management helps to create structure and make the process as smooth as possible.
Change management is about creating a plan and structure that will help with an easy transition. However, it does require hard work and team effort, but we promise, it will definitely be worth it in the end.
The first step is to understand and acknowledge change starts with ourselves - Feeling, Thinking, and Doing. Or as we call it, Heart - Head - Hand. We acknowledge we feel the need for change, we think about how we can implement this change. The last step is, we act on it. In a summary:
- First, we are to manage ourselves and our emotions in order to consciously choose our behaviours for maximum effectiveness with others.
- Second, once we have got our own attitudes and skills in-place, we believe it is important to "tune-in" to the other person. So we can connect with them and move forward together.
- Finally, we have experienced that it is important to dynamically manage the relationship end-to-end. This means "reading the room" and making adjustments along the way. The last step is to master a complete set of interpersonal behaviours so that we can launch, grow, and enjoy the process.
What are the key elements of successful change management?
There are several reasons why you might be thinking of change management for your company. Whatever the reason is, the key elements for successful change management are similar for every company. Please find the 4 steps (key elements) below, and learn more about the change management process.
Change Management Process
Understanding that change is needed to take the company to the next level, is the first step. We have experienced that the company’s culture is an important part of the change management process. We believe it can be critical for the success of implementing the new transformations within the organisation.
Cultural resistance is something you definitely don't want, so it is important to introduce these changes slowly, so the team can get used to them. Self-management is therefore important to connect with others for optimum results. This means listening to our emotions, or actively listening to what others have to say.
- Organising and planning
All changes are different. We have experienced companies where the transition went smoothly, but we have also seen organisations where there was a lot of resistance. However, everything starts with planning, especially change management. It is important to encourage and organise two-way communication throughout the change process, so everyone is involved.
Every company culture is different, and they all need their own approach. We found that seeing what motivates and drives your employees is a big part of this. Communicate and set clear goals, because you are in this together!
SMART is a great way to help you set actionable goals:
- Specific: setting specific goals is the first step.
- Measurable: take a moment and explore what you have done and how it can be measured.
- Actionable: what steps are you taking to get to your goal(s)?
- Relevant: are the goals connected to the objectives?
- Timebound: setting a specific date can help motivate your employees.
A change will come, and it has come. At this point you can carry out all the preparations that have been made. Whether the change management process is successful will depend on managing these transformations and processes.
Communication is, just like in every other step, an important factor to create a smooth transition. Being sensitive to the reactions of various participants is utterly important to create a smooth process. This also means anticipating the reactions of various stakeholder groups and/or personality types. We have seen that when people with authority are involved in this process, it can help to improve the outcomes.
This does not mean they have to have the highest position in the company. It does include people with authority and respect, for example the accountant that has been working with the firm for over 15 years. Or the supervisor that is respected and is seen as an important leader of the team. We believe these people serve as guides during this process and will play an important role to motivate and involve other employees.
Well done, this is the last step! What went well? Are there any outcomes that are unexpected? Evaluating will help you to discover more about the process and learn from mistakes that might have been made.
While change management brings a lot of challenges, it is also something that can be celebrated once it is completed. Celebrating a new, fresh start with the team is just as important as the other steps. It gives everyone the acknowledgement they deserve, and you deserve!
Change Management Training
Introducing changes can be difficult, but with the right guidance it is easier to create a successful outcome. Workforce motivation for example is an important part of Change Management Training, but also other aspects such as the development of individuals, self-management, active-listing, communication skills and goal alignment. Next to this, to be able to mobilise (in both ourselves and in others) for mental and emotional energy is an important part as well.
Written by Hansen Beck