Change is an integral and inevitable part of business. It’s needed to ensure that constant evolution and improvement essential for business growth is never hampered in any way. Change management has emerged as a term that encompasses every aspect of organizational change. It is a crucial element of any new initiative and those who embrace it, open the doors for their own success.
Irrespective of your position and how you perceive change, accepting and embracing it depends on three aspects - the ‘what’, the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. But as with everything new, change can often bring some challenges. So how does one go about understanding and embracing change?
The ‘what’ of change
Before you initiate organizational change, you need to figure out what needs to be changed in order to ensure continued growth. You need to know this ‘what’ before you assess your resources and review whether it is achievable or not. It is also essential because your entire team will rely on the answer to this ‘what’ to measure their own performance. You can further dissect the ‘what’ of your change management by asking yourself -
- What are you trying to achieve at the organizational level?
- What are success metrics and parameters?
- What standards would you apply to your change management?
Having said that, make sure you understand that this is just the first step. Allow it to become a process so that you always know what needs to be done and your efforts are geared towards achieving it.
The ‘why’ of change
Once you have defined what needs to be achieved, you need to address ‘why’ that change is essential for your business. It helps you define the rationale behind your strategy and decision to implement change. That, in turn, helps senior management to set benchmarks to measure the impact of change at the ground level. You should be ready to address some of these basic ‘why’ questions -
- Why should we change strategy and tactics?
- Why should we increase productivity?
- Why are higher profit margins desirable?
When you define the ‘why’ of your change management, you also need to address the possible answers for your team and senior management. For example, the logical response to each of the questions above would be to increase productivity, to improve profitability, and to enhance investment capabilities of the organization respectively. When your subordinates and senior management understand this, it becomes easier for everyone to get onboard with the process of change and make it far more effective.
The ‘how’ of change
Of course, when you have defined what needs to be changed and why is it essential for organizational growth, then comes the question of how to achieve it. By addressing the ‘how’ of change, you essentially get down to setting actionable goals for yourself. These will also invariably help your team to focus on a process-oriented approach towards achieving those targets.
- How do we implement the new system?
- How do we address the new team structure and responsibilities?
To stay abreast with the pace of change in modern business environment, leaders need to think about change management as an essential element to promote positive growth. It will call on your various leadership skills depending on the situation and the kind of change being anticipated. Some of these might be diplomacy, communicating with and engaging a large audience, listening skills and most of all, operational and financial knowledge to assist you in accomplishing your goals. In short, if you’re well versed with your business environment, and are comfortable with change, then nothing can come in the way of your success.