We are living in a world in which the word "change" defines the new work order. Organizational leaders no longer have the luxury of contemplating if they will make changes, but rather must decide how they can transform their organization in order to survive a rapidly shifting environment.
As markets evolve and new technologies emerge, companies require leadership that can foresee the need to adapt and continually be auditing existing processes and organizational structures. Those companies that get this right continue to grow in value, those that don't become stagnant and sometimes fail. It depends on the maturity of the leadership in the organization and their ability to bring team members at all levels together in efforts to evolve. Here are four steps to help facilitate change in your organization.
- Define the end state or success criteria of the change
What does success look like? Your employees need to understand an end state so they can start working toward it. A lot of times when your organization begins change, you don't know what processes or areas within the company will need to be modified but you do know the end goal. This will give your employees a direction, a reason why and guidance when they need to make changes on their level, as well as the expected outcome.
- Leverage the strength of the existing culture
When you make a change within your organization, you must know what is working and what isn't. This is important because you can modify what isn't working and use what is working to enhance the outcome. This is a crucial piece when working with legacy employees because this will give them credit for a job well done and less likely to push back on projects.
- Identify and use informal leaders to help with the emotional cycle
One of the biggest ways informal leaders can help is the emotional cycles that employees go through. There is a bell curve that every person goes through when dealing with changes. Some employees can go through this cycle in a short period of time. Others may take months. This is where your informal leaders play a vital role because they can explain to their peers about the changes that are occurring within that organization.
- Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Throughout the entire process, you must have regular scheduled meetings with your direct management team and then cascade down the information throughout the company. These meetings need to occur frequently throughout the entire change process. After the changes have been made, go over with the staff the effectiveness and the impact those changes had on the organization.
If you continue to repeat this process, you will have a set routine. Soon, you will become an expert at identifying the informal leaders within your organization, establishing the goals and objectives and communicating the change from the top down. With this process it becomes much easier to help facilitate change, which is required for a company to be competitive in today's market.