“Change Is the Only Constant” – So How Can We Manage It Effectively?
Change is constant in any organisation. Some of the factors driving it are increased globalisation, the rapid pace of technological innovation, the shifting of the workforce, and social and demographic trends. The continuous business transformation enables employees to further develop their skills, which ultimately benefits the organisation. Although successfully managing change is crucial for organisations’ success and survival , it brings its own challenges. Research shows that 70% of change programmes fail and the success rate of major change initiatives is only 53% . Failure to successfully manage change can have a long-lasting negative effect on the organisation and its employees. For example, it can cause the organisation to lose its market position, stakeholder credibility and key employees as well as decrease employee engagement and motivation . This article explores the challenges of implementing change and how it can be managed more effectively.
What Can Get in the Way?
- Resistance from employees is one of the most common hurdles an organisation can face when introducing change. Resistance can be towards the content or the process. Resistance to content is when the employees are against the transformation itself whereas resistance to the process is when the employees have concerns about how it is introduced i.e., implementing it without consulting with the team. Individuals might feel resistant towards the change process due to a sense of loss of control or credibility and threat to their status, values, or job security .
- Lack of resources: successful implementation of change would not be possible without having the necessary resources. Having the vision, skills and a clear vision but not the resources (e.g. financial) can result in frustration and delay or failure of the transformation. This can often be due to the lack of planning at the initial stage or sudden variations to the organisation’s structure or financial input .
- Pressure for instant success: when organisations push to see quick success, it can create unrealistic or unachievable timeframes for those responsible for delivering the transformation. This can put immense pressure on individuals and can quite often result in the failure of the programme . Although establishing quick wins is important for keeping the momentum and keeping people motivated, the goals and targets need to be realistic.
How to Lead Change Effectively?
Leading in change can be a challenging experience. To ensure that change is implemented successfully, a leader needs to have a motivated team who supports the implementation. Below are some tips when implementing change:
- Communication is one of the most important aspects of successful change implementation. Ensuring that all voices are heard and recognised and making the time and space for individuals to safely express how they feel about the transformation can help manage feelings of insecurity and anxiety within the team. It is the responsibility of the leader to provide a platform and actively promote open and honest discussions .
- Having a clear purpose and vision is vital for successful change transformation. As a leader driving change, it is important to identify the ‘why’ – the purpose for the transformation and communicate it effectively to the team. This can help to build a shared understanding of the reasons behind the initiative and the expected result. The next step is to build a clear shared vision of how you will deliver the change, the necessary commitments of each team member and where the process will take the team and the organisation. The best way to communicate this is by establishing a clear strategy and establishing the success factors; using evidence and data can further drive the evidence-based process .
- Transparency: keeping the team informed of the progress and providing them with regular updates can make individuals feel that they are part of the process and thus reduce any potential resistance. It is important for this approach to not be guided by hierarchy, therefore, making sure that employees at all levels are well informed and involved in the process, so they do not feel that change is being forced onto them .
How Can Impact Help?
Change is one of the pillars of Impact Psychology for Business. We help leaders use change as a positive force, building resilient, robust and sustainable organisations that welcome and thrive on innovation and challenge. Our expertise and experience help us deliver evidence-based interventions focused on the needs of the client. The support we offer includes:
- Organisational Development (OD) Interventions – OD is integral to understanding and shaping a systemic response to meet current and future demands. Our OD interventions help create alignment of your organisations’ goals and activities in a planned and intentional way, looking to achieve results that will improve the overall health and performance of your organisation. We work with you to gather information on what is working well and what the barriers may be in the organisation, helping you to identify the best interventions and facilitate delivery of the interventions
- Culture Change Programmes – Change management tends to focus on structural and organisational transition. Cultural change makes these plans come alive. We passionately believe in the importance of culture. A positive organisational culture that matches the values of its people transforms the workplace, the customer experience and the bottom line.
- Diagnostics – We identify differences between the current state and the desired future state, using a range of frameworks or diagnostic tools to comprehend the situation.
Click here to find out more about how we can help you and your organisation.
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- George, S. (2021) Change Management. Retrieved from https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/change/management-factsheet#8086
- Reshi, A. (2021). Challenges To Organization Change. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353523617_CHALLENGES_TO_ORGANIZATION_CHANGE
- Sarkar, S. (2022) Five Tips For Successful Transformation And Change Management. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/02/23/five-tips-for-successful-transformation-and-change-management/?sh=3d70f4975e76
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