Change. A concept that in business provokes both fear and excitement.
But with the 2018 Global Reinvention Survey showing that more than a third of companies are reinventing every 2-3 years, it’s a notion we need to get comfortable with. And most organisations don’t need research to know that change isn’t something we necessarily do, rather, it’s something which happens whether you want it to or not.
Navigating everything from AI to rising inflation is now the norm, and this calls for a level of dexterity that isn’t yet second nature to most businesses.
So, how do you manage your organisation through change successfully?
Develop agility as a core competency
At Kindred, we try to stop seeing change management as a process and more of a skill which teams and leaders should develop at every layer of the organisation.
While some traditional change management methodologies certainly do work, relying on projects and transformation initiatives to improve your business is unlikely to get you to where you need to be. Adapting to change needs to be a reflex for today’s teams; not something that is done in separation to your usual work.
This starts by being proactive in how you think about change management rather than being reactive to events. By doing this, you’re able to avoid the ‘big bang’ overhauls that require your team to adapt overnight and can instead maintain a regular active process of diagnosis, testing, and optimisation that leads to a better daily practice and a more shock-resistant organisation overall.
Create a culture of curiosity and allow employees across all levels and departments to suggest new ideas freely. Are people’s ideas being overlooked? Are there opportunities for team members to step forward and lead improvement initiatives?
Consistent improvement over sudden change
You don’t have to be extreme to create positive change. In fact, it can sometimes be a detriment. Changing too many things too quickly can make people uneasy and stress-levels (both personally and in the organisational more broadly) will be affected.
Instead, try to encourage a culture of gradual self-improvement. A weekly goal of improving by just 1% can often lead to cumulative effects. Take the time to regularly reflect – as a team or an organisation – not just on how to fix things, but also on what you are doing well and how to make it even better. Keep it simple, keep it steady, and build strong foundations under every new and exciting advancement.
With a culture that thrives on development, you’ll be in a stronger position to sail through planned and unplanned changes with a competent team at the helm.
Lead the way
As with any change, try to lead with transparency and honesty with every new implementation – whether it’s a large project or a simple operational tweak. Communicate the what and the why and empower people to help shape change at their own level. Give them a vision so that they understand the destination and trust them to do what you hired them to do.
It’s easy to forget that the people on the ground fighting fires have a hard time seeing through the smoke. As a leader of change, your role is to keep a birds-eye-view of the situation and communicate the path forward clearly.
So, try to build agility as a characteristic at all levels, instil a culture of self-improvement, and develop a vision your people can get excited with. Do this, and make change an ever-positive aspect of your organisation.
If you have any questions about change in your organisation, we’d love to hear them. Reach out to us here and we will be in touch!
First published here.