Some tips and lessons on leading business change from key thought leaders.
Change is the only constant enterprises have to learn to deal with. However, bringing about change and transforming the way companies react to market changes, competition, disruption, and changing customer requirements is not an easy task. This is because enterprises are primarily driven by individuals who are well entrenched in a system that runs on established processes and legacy technologies. While it’s theoretically easy to move from legacy to new technology, getting individuals to buy into a new thought process and a new way of doing things is hard. Transforming an entire organisation’s culture is even harder as it involves getting individuals to give up ‘successful behaviour’ or traits they would have acquired over the years that help them succeed in their day-to-day functions.
The solutions to manage change differ from one organisation to another, depending on the complexity of the situation and the task involved. According to various published sources, some 70 per cent of change management projects around the world are failures. However, there are things that every change agent should consider while going about an exercise in transformation. Here’s our cheat sheet compiled from renowned change managers across the globe.
The very first thing to consider before any change management project is the organisation’s readiness for change. For that you need to consider the following.
- How good is your organisation doing on the growth front? Are there growth and profitability pressures?
- How productive is the organisation? Is there a case for cost optimisation?
- Is your current IT infrastructure adequate to deliver all your business goals?
- How is the competitive scenario? Does it require a change in organisational posture?
- Are their compliance issues that require you to initiate change?
Once you have considered these issues you would have identified the solutions that will bring about change. To put together an effective change management program you need to look at a variety of Issues. John Kotter, a change management expert, recommends an eight-step approach in his book ‘Leading Change’. These include:
- Generate a sense of urgency so as to inspire change
- Form a coalition that is in favour of the change initiative
- Create a strategic vision of the future, along with the desired outcome, and share it
- Convey information to reassure people on the process
- Give teams the time and space so that they can co-build
- Always listen to the people on the ground
- Celebrate the first accomplishments
- Institute change by connecting the new practices to day-to-day life in the organisation
Daniel Goleman another expert on change management stresses on the importance of emotional intelligence while managing change. He believes that emotional intelligence will provide fundamental skills that will help us manage our own emotions and those of people around us. In his view, leaders of successful change management projects showcase notable competency in areas such as self-management, self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management. These traits will help leaders drive change management projects better.
Jim Hemerling, another change management guru, provides five strategic imperatives that leaders need to consider while managing change.
- Encourage engagement by connecting a deeper purpose with the need for change.
- If you are cutting costs, then keep an eye out for ways to invest in talent and leadership development.
- Ensure you give people the resources, tools, and support they will need to succeed during the transformation.
- Inspire an organisational culture that focuses on continuous learning and self-development.
- Create an inclusive environment that encourages debates and suggestions.