There are dozens of reasons a business might employ change management strategies. Perhaps you are launching a digital transformation to remain competitive in your market, or perhaps you need to ensure that team members have complete clarity regarding the details of a new project. In any case, change management can be difficult to enact, and if you are not adept at change management, you might be falling short of your goals.
Here are a few signs that your organization is suffering the consequences of poor change management and what you can do to make your change management strategies more effective.
You Aren’t Conducting Key Assessments
Effective change management requires visibility over the organization, and visibility is achieved through various assessments. Three of the most important assessments for business leaders to make include:
Change impact assessments, in which leaders examine the potential effects of a proposed change. Information from this assessment can help leaders minimize risk and control the scope of the change to ensure success.
Organizational readiness assessments, in which leaders determine the staff support for a proposed change. With this assessment in hand, leaders can more effectively identify and eliminate causes of resistance while achieving employee buy-in.
Stakeholder analysis, in which leaders understand the needs and interests of stakeholders. Though stakeholders may not be involved in the change, they can be affected by it, and leaders need to determine how to optimize change for maximum stakeholder benefit.
You Lack Plans for Communications
Communication is essential for every business process and project, and it is especially important during a period of change. Employees are much more likely to resist change when it is poorly communicated through surprise announcements, so business leaders need to be careful to plan their communication strategy carefully from the very beginning of a proposed change to the very end.
You Haven’t Designated Project Sponsors
Project sponsors are responsible for guiding the steps of a change; they are hands-on leaders who build and maintain support for the change while achieving success. Because executives tend to have so many other responsibilities beyond individual changes, they need to delegate sponsorship of the change project to other leaders within the organization. Depending on the scope of the change, the need for sponsors could provide opportunities to allow ambitious and high-performing employees to shine, ensuring that top talent remains engaged with high morale through a change.
You Are Rushing Through Trainings
End-user training is perhaps the most important aspect of change management, and yet many business leaders rush employees through training in the hopes of completing the change as quickly as possible. Without effective training, employees will have limited knowledge and skill with new systems and processes, which means productivity will remain low for some time as workers learn how to navigate while on the clock. Executives should budget plenty of time and space for end users to receive adequate training to ensure success with any change. Additionally, executives might model their commitment to training by engaging actively and enthusiastically in training of their own, like courses on executive strategy.
You Aren’t Using Resistance Management
Like death and taxes, business leaders should expect resistance to change as a certainty. Even when leaders achieve buy-in and communicate effectively, at least one employee is likely to exhibit some resistant behaviors. Business leaders need to be prepared for resistance with an established resistance management plan. Resistance management begins with determining resistance risks through assessments and usually involves implementing strategies to prevent resistance as much as possible. Still, skills for managing resistance will be invaluable to leaders conducting change.
You Don’t Have Access to Employee Feedback
Executives are responsible for the big picture, but many neglect the intricate details. Only through employee feedback can business leaders gain full visibility of the organization, especially during a change. Leaders need to engage with employee feedback throughout the course of a change to ensure that they are providing adequate support to workers during the transition. If feedback indicates that existing change plans are not sufficient, leaders can use the intel to alter their strategies for greater and more widespread success.
Every business is affected by change, but most business leaders have only limited change management experience. With some change management training, executives and leaders at all levels can improve their effectiveness in guiding their organizations through any type of change.