17 Nov The only thing that remains constant is change
Today’s business world is changing faster than ever before, but pace of change is also the slowest it will ever be. In this culture of constant business acceleration, the businesses that are most likely to succeed are the ones which have the ability to change and adapt with the fast moving business environment. Change is vital to the success of a business, as without it we are unable to develop, achieve and move forward. The change process should be carefully managed to minimise disruption and maximise adoption by employees or customers.
Despite it being logical that businesses should strive to be good at handling change, this is simply not the case. A recent Mckinsey study stated that only 30% of projects were “completely/mostly” successful when making an organisational change, which is generally due to employee attitude and management behaviour. This leads to the questions “How can we best manage change?” and “Why do companies find it so hard to implement change successfully?”
About Change Management
Change management is an approach which powers the transition of an organisation to a desired future state by focusing on communication and the transformational journey of individual employees. The main aim of change management is to reduce risk and increase adoption of the change throughout an organisation.
To successfully inspire change within a company, you will need to connect with the head, heart and feet of your employees. This approach allows you to engage with the rational (head), emotional (heart) and behavioural (feet) attitudes of your employees.
To connect with the head of your individuals or teams you need to communicate the logical reasons behind the change. This often involves communicating the rationale behind the business need for change. Communicating this in the early stages of a project will make sure that people understand the need for change, and will be more likely to support the project further down the line.
The step that is most often overlooked is how to engage individuals emotionally. The main aim of emotional engagement is to ensure individuals feel passionate about the project, which is often vital in making sure that the project succeeds. Studies have shown that this can be triggered by a number of aspects, such as the personal impact on the individual, the impact on the team or company, or the impact on society. When trying to engage with employees emotionally, a lot more consideration needs to be paid to the personality of the individual, ensuring that a connection is made with them on a personal level, highlighting the benefits of the impact that are valuable to that individual.
The behavioural connection is important in ensuring long term success of a project. Often, those people who are more open to change will get excited in the early stages of the process. However, without behavioural measures in place to ensure that individuals have the right tools in place to commit to the change, the project will not succeed. This normally involves training during the change, and ongoing communications beyond the go live date, so that individuals feel they have the knowledge and ability to move forward.
Many organisations don’t often appreciate the value that having a change management process in place can achieve, but studies have shown that projects with good change management are six times more likely to meet or exceed project objectives. Similarly, studies have also shown that projects with change management achieve a significantly higher ROI. On average those projects with excellent change management got 143% ROI, in comparison to those projects with poor or no change management which only achieved 35% ROI.
During our series of Change Management posts, we want to get you thinking about projects you have worked on, what change management was in place, and what the outcomes were. Please use the comments box below to tell us a time when you have encountered resistance to change, or even if you yourself were the resistant one, and how you managed to overcome this. We look forward to your response.