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Why Managing Change is the Key to Business Success
Dealing with change is an ongoing challenge both in our personal and work lives. However, most people and organizations do not devote sufficient time discussing change management. To use an extreme example think of how Toys R Us handled change in the marketplace. Or if we go back a little further why did Blockbuster not see what Netflix saw.
In this article we discuss why paying attention to and dealing effectively with change is a key to your business success. Here are some lessons we have learned along the way.
Keep it Simple
Within our consulting practice we follow the mantra that it is more challenging to make things simple than to make them complex. This is particularly true when you are looking to drive improvements to organizational performance and culture. Therefore when we engage leaderships teams on solving organizational problems we emphasize that our collective solutions need to be extremely simple and focused. The reason, people will have a clearer path to where change needs to take place. Complexity drives stress and frustration and limits one’s ability to change.
Identifying Roadblocks to Change
The first phase of our engagements is always devoted to assessing the current state of the organization and gaining an understanding of which areas need to improve. A key subset of this phase is to assess the leadership capabilities of the management team and the overall talent base within the organization. This determines the organizations capability to drive improvements. Inevitably we find that in most organizations there is a less than adequate capability to drive immediate change. This could be caused by a number of factors (resources, capital, willingness or knowhow). In short, we need to understand where the roadblocks to implementing changes will reside.
Adapting Organization to Change
Once a strategy is developed the focus shifts to communicating and training the team on the specific initiatives. The ultimate goal is to improve accountability, engagement and culture. However, in laying out all the specific initiatives sometimes we forget that there is an overarching goal that we are all pursuing.
That is, to improve the organization’s capability to react to and drive change.Whether you are looking to upgrade talent, improve skills, increase employee engagement, achieve productivity of new hires, introduce a new product line, integrate departments, reduce turnover, cut costs, or drive a key project; in all these areas and many more, your ability to manage change will determine your level of business success. Beyond business, just look at top performing sports teams - superior teams adapt to change faster than underperforming teams.
Defining Individual Change Quotients
While change management has always been a focus within organizations, defining change expectations for each role/individual is not always done adequately. For example, a sales representative’s role is to grow sales, but a key “change quotient” could be to grow more new business as a percentage of total sales. A manufacturing operator may be focused on running a machine, but a key change quotient could be to improve material utilization. Countless examples can be made of what change requirements are necessary for each role- from top leaders to lower levels. Thinking through and applying these change expectations to each role is where many organizations do not devote sufficient time and energy.
With advances of technology the pace of change in the workplace continues to increase. Finding, attracting, screening, upgrading and promoting talent that can assimilate to your form of change is a requisite. Likewise, if a particular role does not require a significant focus on change, you also need to know that. How many times have you heard or read about millennials turning over because they are bored and want greater change and variety within their job? Again, the principle is the same. You need to know the change quotient of each role and align your strategies appropriately.
It is imperative to develop teams that are effective at managing and driving change. Connecting all talent acquisition and management strategies to this simple principle will allow you to assess your workforce capabilities and determine where you need to improve. So start by assessing your readiness and capacity for change. Examine your:· Culture· Leadership· Organizational structure· Hiring· Talent developmentAre you prepared to change?
Dan Simovic is the Managing Director at TAMS Group. He works with a team of top-notch consultants to provide practical solutions to companies designed to improve employee and organizational productivity, attract, develop, manage and reward their most critical assets: their employees; and minimize workplace compliance risk.