Change Management - How does your organization handle change?
Innovation is great and the rate of technological achievements accelerates. But what is great for humanity, can actually be quite a huge challenge for your organization and employees.
1. Short introduction to Change Management
The world wide web changed everything, I think we all know that. And despite that the internet has been around for a while, many companies still seem to struggle to digitalize their business processes (and no I'm not talking about simply using Microsoft Office here). But that's not the actual problem. Many organizations (especially those which exist longer than the average company) tend not to be able to keep up with the rapid technological advancements.
That's why some larger organizations devote some specific resources to change management to ensure that they don't miss out on important trend shifts. As innovation accelerates, the changes within an organization need to be well-controlled, managed and well-communicated to employees. Therefore, communication could be considered the key to successful change management as employees tend to reject changes.
2. How to keep up with innovation?
Humanity get's more efficient day by day and every organization needs to find a way to avoid falling by the wayside. So, how could we do this? Just to clarify my point here; the more resources you have the easier it is to keep up with technological accomplishments but usually the more complex change management will become.
Therefore, if you have enough resources, you could simply establish a new department in your organization. On the other hand, newer companies tend to already leverage modern technologies. And who is left? Small companies and medium-scale enterprises. So, let's see what they could do without spending resources they don't have.
2.1. Simply do your research
The easiest solution one could think of is doing some research. Be it by evaluating which companies tend to grow faster than others (e.g. AR/VR, blockchain, internet-of-things,...) or analyzing what your direct and indirect competitors have in the pipeline. Even if you don't trade or invest in other companies, you will certainly find it helpful to see how quoted organizations perform across different sectors which might allow you to conclude upcoming advancements or trends. Some dominant examples are hydrogen, electric-vehicles, cannabis or blockchain.
2.2. Analyze your own processes
There is a good chance that your company has many processes which are either obsolete or inefficient. Thus, analyzing where you or your employees could possibly save time / resources can be a short-term win as well as a good indicator for future or existing trends. Moreover, this analysis could lead you to new business models and increase employee satisfaction as they usually have to compensate ineffective processes.
2.3. Talk to your employees
What do your employees think (if you have some)? I'm sure they'll tell you all sorts of things where they think they could save a lot of time, what kinds of technologies you could introduce to make things more effective and what sorts of different problems occur in daily business. Many companies have some sort of feedback mechanisms (e.g. weekly meetings, open-door policies, feedback whiteboards, ...) but on much of this feedback is never acted on although being truly appreciated by leaders for the time being.
3. How to do change management?
First of all, I can recommend you the book "Change mich am Arsch" by Prof. Axel Koch which is a German bestseller in this category. The book is actually not about how you should manage change, but rather how you shouldn't do it from an employee's perspective. By the way, we are not paid for the recommendation, so it's authentic.
3.1. Don't neglect your employees
When you consider huge changes within your organizations you should always start by talking to your employees. The reason for this is actually quite simple; your employees decide whether your changes work or if they are rejected at a certain point (either by leaving the company, doing it some other way or by not doing it sufficiently).
3.2. Are the pain points worth the risk?
Changes involve all sorts of risks. As a consequence you should always evaluate whether the pain point causing your desire to adapt or change is actually large enough. If not then you might be better off not making your employees uncomfortable by applying a perhaps unnecessary improvement.
3.3. Have a back-up plan
Introducing new processes or technologies can lead to unpredicted problems which might not be solveable over night. Thus, having a back up plan by e.g. having the old infrastructure / processes in place could save you a lot of headache.
4. Trends in Business & Tech
..with Carlos Sentís (CEO of WIA)
You'll find an interesting interview related to this topic below. First of all, thank you Carlos for having us! It's an honor to work with you and we should have more inspring souls like yours. Carlos Sentís is CEO of the World Innovation Alliance, appeared over 1.5k times in media, adviser, lecturer and has a broad network with over 130 countries.
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