If you’re like most business owners, you know that change is a necessary part of staying competitive and growing your company. However, change can also be very challenging and risky. That’s why managing organisational change is so important to do effectively. In this blog post, we will discuss the four key principles you need to know in order to make change management successful!
Communicate With Clarity About The Problem That Needs Solving
One of the biggest keys in effective organisational change management is communication. Poor or ineffective communication is the main reason why change management is the most significant risk for psychological injury. Employees often feel unduly pressured to follow a new process when it has not been clearly communicated. This is why you need to explain to them why the process is necessary, or what problem the new process is going to solve.
If we communicate more clearly and openly about a problem, it’s not a reflection of any inadequacy of our leadership. We know how to fix a problem! But a big part of being a good leader is engaging your people in helping you to solve the problem. This creates buy-in to your leadership because they see that you value them as employees. So, if you make communication the number one priority in any organisational challenge, your change management process will be much smoother.
Make Time To Develop Buy-In At The Beginning
The key to improving engagement is helping people to feel like they have been heard. Leaders will often try to push people into submission around change. This is problematic because people who don’t see value in the change may feel devalued and want to leave. Driving change may produce positive results for the bottom line, but can result in increased psychological injuries. People feel like they’re not heard by the leadership, that their input is unimportant.
It’s important to ask for input and give your people an opportunity to provide it in a variety of different ways. We often think we don’t have time for that! However, it is essential to ensure successful change, so you don’t have time to skip it. If you don’t take the time to engage them at the beginning, you are going to lose a lot of time at the other end. Trying to enforce change on people who don’t want to embrace it will result in staff turnover and is ultimately very costly to the business.
You always need to make time for buy-in through effective communication at the beginning.
Introduce The Proposed Changes And Explain Why They Are Necessary
If you want to reduce resistance to change, you need to communicate with clarity what it is that the change is actually going to achieve for the organisation. This is what managing organisational change effectively is all about.
As leaders, we have a high-level strategic overview of what it is that we are trying to achieve, but that strategic outcome is not fed down to the lower levels of the organisation.
Often leaders feel that the communication of the rationale is superfluous to their desire to enact change. This is a common mistake that can be a by-product of the perception of hierarchy in your organisation. However, by making the link between the change that you want to bring in, and the problem that it’s going to resolve, you make it clear to your people how they are going to benefit in their work from the organisation implementing change.
When I work with organisations, I begin by understanding the strategic overview and then unpacking the personalities in between what the leadership wants to achieve and why, and how that will look on the ground. There is a particular skill set in that, and something that I like to mentor, to enable the transfer of skills to build capability in each organisation I work with.
Managing organisational change? Seek Feedback To Mitigate Any Psychological Injury Risk first
The reason that we have to mitigate risk when we are implementing change, is because change management itself is actually the biggest risk for psychological injury.
It’s not true that human beings don’t like change, they don’t like change for change’s sake. They need to understand why the change is necessary. They need to recognise strategically, why that change is important to the business. Then they need to have that information distilled down to them so that they can buy-in to why the change is necessary.
In focussing on mitigating the risk, make sure that it’s very clear about what this change is going to bring to the organisation. Deliver training and information to varying levels of management within your organisation to ensure consistency.
To determine if you are effectively managing organisational change while mitigating the risk associated with your change process, make sure to provide varying feedback mechanisms for your people to streamline feedback – both direct and indirect. Provide a single point of contact for the escalation of issues in the affected areas of the organisation and a clear reporting path with fallback.
Want To Learn More About Managing Organisational Change and How To Set The Stage For Change In Your Organisation?
PS – Here are four other ways how we can help your organisation to better support your people:
- Assess your organisation’s ‘Psychological Injury Risk’ with our free assessment
- Book a Discovery Call
- Check out our evidence-based programs designed to improve mental health for all levels in your workplace
- Join me for the next upcoming Webinar (I run these monthly) or weekly Live streams (every Wednesday 12:00pm Sydney time) on LinkedIn