Tips for Navigating a Change in your Organization

By: Sajid Khan
A

Changing the way things are done in an organization is very challenging. This is particularly true in organizations with a very clear identity, culture, and purpose. But change is inevitable. In fact, technology is accelerating the changes and those that couldn’t adjust in time end up closing shop.

For instance, a survey by Forbes revealed that 5 in 10 executives think that digital disruption will be a threat to their business in the next five years.

For the most part, change is being force-fed into the organization. By the time the managers are implementing the changes, they are already in a survival mode. However, there are many reasons for instituting a change. Here are some of them:

  1. They need to increase the efficiency
  2. They need to automate workflow to reduce mistakes and wastage
  3. The targets could no longer be met and the gaps get wider and wider
  4. New technology that disrupts current operations
  5. Mergers & acquisitions
  6. They need to shake up the tree to see what falls down

How to Implement Changes More Effectively

It’s important that everybody understands why a change is necessary. The process itself is difficult enough without resistance from personnel.

As leaders, you need to make sure the right message is communicated properly from the supervisors down the line to the rank-and-file. But managers can’t do this if they are not fully cognizant of the ultimate goal.

Of course, this can’t be done by the manager alone unless the organization is very small. Typically, you need champions by your side so you have to hand-pick the employees and supervisors you trust to help implement the changes.

It shouldn’t be emphasized enough that the leader has the responsibility to make sure everybody knows that each of them plays a crucial role in the organization and that their work is appreciated.

3 Tips for Navigating Change in Your Organization

Tip #1 — Time the Changes with the Seasons

A good example would be to institute changes in policies and workflow right after the New Year. This is when people are more open-minded about new beginnings.

Tip #2 — Encourage feedback

The fastest way to mutiny is when you become dictatorial. There’s bound to be some initial resistance to accept the unfamiliar, especially when they are already set in their ways. You need to listen to their feedback, at the very least to assess whether or not you are moving in the right path.

Tip #3 Make Change an Integral Part of Your Policy

You can take this opportunity to shift the organizational culture. Make sure everybody understands that this is not going to be a one-time thing. In that way, employees won’t be as shocked the next time out.

Conclusion

Change is both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s all about the perspective, along with the capability of the manager to steer the organization in the right direction. It starts and ends with the manager to hold up the beacon of light for everybody to follow. The organization will surely falter if the manager is not flexible enough to ride with the wave of changes.

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