This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 7 March 2018. See www.theinformer.co.nz
Successful leaders constantly look for opportunities to improve results – often through changing what is being done, how it is being done or who is doing it. Deciding on the needed change might seem difficult enough, but embedding these changes into business as usual can be far more challenging.
Organisational changes have an intended impact on some people, and, chances are, an unintended impact on others. A well-executed change management strategy is required to ensure that the change is not stymied by resistance or unforeseen consequences. One key to this strategy is frequent and clear communication.
While announcing the proposed change in a team meeting or email might be part of the communication plan, it should not be all of it. People absorb information differently, some prefer written communication, some verbal, some graphic illustrations and others need physical demonstrations. Some may think of questions quickly and be confident enough to ask them in public while others would prefer to ask their questions in private and/or after due consideration.
Effective change management requires the leader to be supportive and understanding, treating each person affected as an individual. Make time for each person, listen to their concerns and be prepared to change your plans to make the transition easier or mitigate the unforeseen consequences. Increase your team’s ownership of the change by incorporating their ideas into the solution. Closely monitor the outcomes and act quickly to alter the plan if needed. Finally, don’t forget to organise a team celebration when the change has been navigated successfully.