TOP TIPS TO MANAGING CHANGE IN AN EVER CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
It seems our world is in a current state of change due to the global pandemic of Covid-19. As a result, businesses are required to transform the ways they work, where they work, how they work and who continues to work – lots of change happening at once – yikes!?
Fortunately, because we are passionate project people, we are used to change and are happy to accommodate it. Transformation lies within most of the environments we work in. Many of our clients begin their projects because they are looking to initiate some sort of change in their organisation to receive desired benefits. But here we are not talking about a client’s project. We would like to suggest how you can use change management effectively to receive your desired benefits in this uncertain working landscape.
To ensure we all have a clear understanding of change management, we will be referring to the Association for Project Management’s definition (link below this blog) which is “change management is the overarching approach taken in an organisation to move from the current to a future desirable state using a coordinated and structured approach in collaboration with stakeholders.”
Let’s discuss an example that is relatable to many of us at this moment in time. The majority the corporate UK business environment is required to work from home, following the instructions of the government to keep employees safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many business owners, managers and employees may not have experienced this working environment before and could be concerned with several factors such as; technology, location, moral, mental health and wellbeing, communication, etc. Many of us were not expecting this change and could feel it occurred very quickly with not much time for planning on how to change the working environment from the office to home. However, this is where change management usually comes into play because it is needed to ensure the business’s survival or relevance. Meaning, if you would like your business to survive in this challenging economic climate, you and your employees need to adapt to the new working landscape.
This is where you say, well that is all well and good but how do I initiate change management in this current organisational climate?
- Begin with your people.
- Successful change management requires changes in behaviour and unless you are wanting to change the behaviour of animals, the behaviour you are concerned with is of your stakeholders AKA your people!
- Prepare your organisation.
- Your business’s stakeholders need to understand what change will be happening and what benefits will be achieved as a result of this change.
- Manifest the change.
- Show how the change will take place. Change management links the process of executing the strategy, deploying of operations and realising the expected benefits. As the business leader, you should be concerned with the strategy of how the change will take place to help achieve…our next bullet point.
- Strengthen buy-in.
- Remember change management involves change in people’s behaviours. Those same people who you are wanting to change their behaviour will need to buy-into the new change taking place.
- Install new behavioural normalities and expectations around the change. Answering questions like the ones below will help you embed new behaviour to successfully implement change management in your organisation.
- What will the new behaviours look like?
- Will there be changes to how employees work – depending on the change?
- What are people expected to do that is different to before?
- What are the new tools that will be used to assist with this change?
These are just a couple of tips we wanted to share with our network on how to manage change during this transformation period we all face together. Remember, change management is concerned with behaviour and as a result it is also concerned with the people who will experience or must initiate this change. From our personal experience, we find being honest and upfront about expectations, and to envision and plan for unexpected challenges (as best you can) and continuously refer to the benefits, will assist in making sure the change is on track to receiving these desired outcomes.
If you are looking more information on change management visit this link: https://www.apm.org.uk/resources/what-is-project-management/what-is-change-management/