Do you already have a concrete plan for change management in your company? No matter if your answer to the question is yes or no, this article will give you some useful tips and help you to develop a solid change process inside your organization and how to involve the team within the process the best way possible.
There are many reasons to start right away
Our environment and markets are constantly changing, which is for example triggered by technological, political or social changes. Companies are therefore under constant pressure to react to change. We will explain to you how to establish a successful change management process in your company and how an effective change management plan can convince the team to steadily work on adapting and rethinking their daily work processes.
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Before we explain how you approach change management in your company, let's consider why you need to start introducing a new process as soon as possible:
- There are already massive new changes in many industries. In order to remain competitive and not lose the battle, you and your team have to react now.
- New opportunities for the organization and the business units. Innovative technologies and globalization open up many opportunities for you to open up new markets.
- The necessary structures for successful change management cannot be established overnight. Like everything that needs to be good, it takes time and capable people. But to be successful in the long run, changes and adaptations are indispensable and many people inside an organization need to be informed.
Change management vs. transformation
Many people who deal with one of the two terms sooner or later ask themselves to what extent change management and transformation differ and if the two terms work synonymously.
We agree: This is not the case, because there are clear differences: Transformation involves major changes or even realignments of companies that affect factors such as the business model (not car sales, but car rental) or the markets (more oriented toward China, away from Europe). In addition, these changes can also affect general processes, structures or corporate culture. In most cases, the changes are disruptive in nature and affect the entire company, also on the organizational level. After a transformation, companies usually look different than before and have undergone a kind of metamorphosis. This is only reversible in rare cases, as transformations are usually conceived and designed for the long term.
Change management, on the other hand, involves supporting the affected stakeholders (e.g. employees, but also suppliers and customers) in the course of a major change and can thus be part of a transformation. The focus here is more on the successful implementation of changes within a company and on how employees can be accompanied and supported best. Accordingly, the relationship and interaction level plays a major role, because the acceptance of changes within the company is to be increased in a short time only. Individual teams and departments tend to be affected. Without change management, the implementation of a transformation is rather difficult: It should therefore always be considered as part of a transformation. The strategic vision of the company should always be clearly communicated so that everyone involved understands and accepts it. With the help of change management measures, necessary adjustments can be realized in the company, as it specifically addresses individual needs and challenges of the employees. The term change management was particularly coined by John P. Kotter, who developed the well-known 8-step model in change management.
Implementing the change process in three phases
In order to approach the topic with structure, let's take a closer look at change processes in business. A simple change process includes three rough phases that need to be distinguished:
- Analysis & Unfreezing
In this phase, the preparations for the changes in the organization are made and people in charge have to be assigned. The phase is also known as unfreezing, which symbolizes the people who have to get used to the new situation and the changes.
In the second phase, the organizational changes are carried out. This could be new strategies or processes, which often also mean changes for the employees. The implementation is accompanied by project managers who are responsible for a structured approach to the project plan.
- Effective Maintenance
In the last phase, the people assigned have to ensure that all changes are retained and no one in the team is falling back into old patterns. But the results must also be analyzed in order to be able to track the success or failure of the change measures.
Concrete measures for change management
Now we come to the most crucial part. You are probably wondering how you can start and establish a sustainable change process in your company.
You must be the initiator
As a rule, the impetus for change management measures comes from corporate management. It is the management's task to ensure that the company can operate successfully in the long term. The first step is the establishment of the necessary structures with associated personnel decisions.
Use your employees to identify problems in the organization and identify opportunities for the business areas. This not only increases the ideas, but also has a positive effect on the corporate culture, as the employees feel involved. There is a reason why corporate culture was cited in a 2017 German survey as one of the most important factors for successful change. Because people and their attitudes matter and are a valuable resource.
Do not wait for suggestions from employees, but actively search for improvement potential. Ask your team leaders for an effective analysis of the business areas with opportunities and risks as well as existing problems. You can also interview your employees directly. This means that you are not dependent on ideas being communicated and can identify problems that are not classified as such.
Set up a team for implementation
Do not try to push through the changes on your own. It is your job to monitor progress and keep the whole picture in view. Therefore, appoint some people responsible for the effective implementation of the change measures and distribute the tasks at work.
Use a software for the implementation of your change management projects
Be sure to use project management software to implement your change projects. Don't save money in the wrong place. You cannot afford projects to fail due to lack of organization and documentation chaos! Don't make the mistake of trying change management projects with spreadsheet solutions like Excel. Excel can do many things, but no strategic project management.
Falcon is the solution for effective transformation
Our transformation management software Falcon helps you to concentrate on your tasks.
Falcon creates clear responsibilities and a simple overview of the overall project, goals and progress. Through a differentiated rights structure, you can determine precisely who is allowed to see what. External stakeholders and investors can also convince themselves of the progress at any time.
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