Businesses globally faced huge change in 2020, with the coronavirus requiring teams to quickly implement new growth models, management processes and digital tools.
This requirement to quickly adapt to new business environments shows little sign of slowing, so to help you effectively implement change, we spoke with Be Challenged’s leadership and agility consultant, Glenn Price.
“In 2020, many businesses had to seek revenue from different markets or required a completely new business strategy, and they were required to do it quickly,” Glenn said.
“Some businesses have achieved in seven days what would normally take six months.”
While not all implemented business changes were successful, the fact there was no other option meant success rates were higher than average.
“Change management processes typically have a 70 per cent failure rate. However, they are 30 per cent more likely to succeed when people are truly invested in their success,” Glenn said.
“And 2020 was the first time in history that management have gone through the same emotional change curve as their employees. They were forced to empathise with the situation their team members were in,” Glenn said.
That meant everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO, were facing the same uncertainty. They were all in it together, a key reason change management processes succeed.
So how can we continue to build on the change management success seen in 2020 and implement change that is embraced by teams and positively impacts the business and customer experience?
“The least effective thing you can do is force people into a standard change management process from the 90s. It will fizzle.” Glenn said.
“It needs to be human. It needs to be personalised. And it needs to be memorable,” he added.
Below are Glenn’s seven key strategies for implementing change management processes in your business.
2020-21 Business Changes and Challenges:
- Growth market opportunities have changed.
- The required speed of innovation and change has significantly increased.
- Remote workers cannot be judged by input, only output.
- There has been a blurring of boundaries between work and home life.
- New tools, technology, virtual teams and associated working processes have been required quickly.
Weigh In = Buy In:
Giving your team the opportunity to weigh in and provide input and feedback on any proposed changes in the planning process will mean they become emotionally engaged with the changes and more likely to embrace them.
Get people involved as early as possible. Find out what they are thinking. Listen and engage with feedback and be open to acting on it.
People are logical and they will embrace change as long as they understand “The Why”.
Why will the proposed changes positively impact them and the overall employee experience? And why will they impact the customer experience? Clearly define and outline the benefits.
If they understand why, they are more likely to buy into the changes. It only takes a heartbeat to change a belief, but only if all the information and evidence is present and delivered authentically.
Harness the Influencers and Champions:
When we roll out large change management processes to 5,000 people, we take 500 of the most networked and connected and let them spread it.
To effectively implement change in most organisations you only need 30 per cent of employees to be fully supportive. The rest simply need to be neutral. But if the neutrals are negatives, the process is doomed.
This makes trust in who is communicating the changes imperative. Whoever is driving the process must have a level of influence and rapport withing the business. It might be the graphic designer because she/he talks with everyone and is popular and trusted.
Define your 100-day plan:
Focus the organisation on a prioritised set of processes and clearly define expectations for various stakeholders, while ensuring everyone understands they are all in it together.
Everyone must understand who is doing what, when and how, and how they can help others. It takes between 22-60 days to learn a new habit, so develop a dashboard of KPIs where you can easily track progress and define success along the way, and after 100 days.
Your 100-day plan should also focus on the long-term sustainability of any changes being implemented.
Teach Coping and Resilience Strategies:
Change can be difficult as new skills and methodologies must be learnt, so employees must be as prepared as possible for when the changes hit.
That means both skills training and technical support, along with resilience training and coping resources.
Invest in practical skills, tools and support frameworks, and help people develop mindset tools such as exercise, a diary or other mental health support.
The medium is the message:
Communication theory states that the medium, channel and platform that a message is delivered on is more important than the message itself. Also consider that approximately 60 per cent of people are visual learners, so text is unlikely to cut through.
How is your change and “The Why” being communicated?
Consider the difference between a written email from management, and an experiential learning program that drives engagement with the key outcomes and drives conceptual buy-in.
Invest in Leadership Competence:
Change management efforts often fail because leadership does not fully understand the processes outlined in this article.
In fact, many leaders also do not like change because they fear they lack the skills to manage it and that driving it could rock them out of the boat.
Organisations must invest in leadership competence and develop the ability of management to be agile and manage and deliver change.
Be Challenged Programs that can help with Change Management:
- Mindset Beliefs Attitude (MBA) Workshop
- 5 Behaviours
- Strategy Execution
- Leadership Agility
Preparing a Team for Change:
- Go Remote
- Beat The Box
- The Big Picture
- Bridging The Divide
- In The Picture
- The Pitch
Celebrate success and reinforce change:
- Need 4 Speed
- Flat Out F1
- The Big Buzz