It’s a jungle out there
Modern business has become extremely competitive due to technological and cultural advances. Most industries today have virtually no barriers to entry thanks to readily available resources that make it easy to initiate the start-up process. Where companies could once rely on trade secrets and strategic locations to secure market-share, competitors now have the ability neutralize this advantage by tapping into an unlimited market, and boundless information online. This has created an urgent necessity for businesses to develop the capacity to transform or adapt to unpredictable market activity just to ensure survival.
Take newspapers for example. They once held the prestige of being exclusive sources of public information. Today, newspapers are literally going out of business every day thanks to competing services provided by an infinite number of blogs and websites. Taxis were once recognized as an invulnerable transportation amenity. Even with alternative public transportation available such as buses and trains, nobody could ever have fathomed that taxi services would be under threat. Yet the emergence of digital transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft has taxis on the brink of extinction. Even department stores that once seemed colossal are wilting from the red hot competition posed by internet retailers.
Be open and versatile
This intense competitiveness means that change is an inevitable, and unavoidable, process in business. Any company that aims to survive must be prepared to alter either its mission or its fundamental operations at some point in time just to remain competitive. Given the inescapability of this dilemma, managers must be equipped to arbitrate change efficiently whenever necessary. This skill is formally referred to as change management.
Change management should be as scientific a process as possible. Introduction of change to an organization should be based on factual research because the more control is maintained throughout this procedure, the less waste and disruption occur. This isn’t to say that the human aspect of change management should be neglected. Since people are the ones expected to apply new policies and procedures in a company, their emotions and well-being should also be catered to in relation to any changes being introduced. Nonetheless, the more clinically change is presented to a company, the more completely said change will integrate into the character and functions of a company. Here are three guidelines on how to effectively execute meaningful change management:
1. Audit your business climate and performance
Any changes introduced to an organization should be done from a perspective of self-awareness and knowledge. Deciding to alter the functions of a company without any research can result in catastrophic outcomes. Collecting data makes it possible to measure performance precisely, as well as isolate specific variables that need adjustment. Formally auditing performance also helps establish a record that can be used to improve operations beyond final implementation of intended change.
2. Justify any necessary change formally
Ambushing employees with new expectations almost certainly guarantees rebellion. Because it is human nature to resist anything that threatens the familiar, it’s important to remember that people appreciate uncertainty-reduction when it comes to dealing with the unknown. Openly communicating intent to change, as well as providing rationale behind intent to change, creates an environment for employees to reorient themselves emotionally and logistically in order to accommodate new standards or routines. Such preparation cannot possibly be understated considering employee support is integral to the activities of a company.
3. Institute change from the top down
The only people with the capacity to introduce change in a company are its decision-makers. As such, these very same decision-makers have a higher duty to embody adoption of change than any other agents in an organization. Introducing change in a way that demonstrates managers walking the walk engraves respect for said change within a workforce. It permeates the message that employees aren’t just being fed unrealistic instructions blindly.
Change should preferably be introduced to a group cautiously and methodically. Being hasty to achieve desired goals often distracts managers from being considerate about how they treat employees with regard to change. Adopting a formal procedure to conduct change management helps keep perspective on whether or not lines are being crossed in terms of maintaining functional and ethical integrity.