Change is coming!….. Quick, start thinking about change management!
Change management at its best is when the expectation of change, and positive responses to it, become the norm within your business culture. People are born to respond to changes in their environment. Somehow we seem to unlearn these skills as we move through school and our careers. It’s fair to say however that most people are finding that they are re-learning them fast.
So change is about responding effectively to new challenges. Yet it’s often at times of increased business pressure and unanticipated change that people become more rigid, risk-averse and short-term in their outlook e.g. “How can I plan for next year when I don’t know what’s going to happen next month”.
Change is also about seizing opportunities, modifying behaviours, making step-changes – and inspiring others to do so. It has often been said that the only skill anyone really needs is the ability to learn. This applies just as well to organisations.
Behaviours such as:
- consistent and motivating leadership
- strong values that are reflected in management’s actions from the top down
- a work force that has been encouraged to develop their skills
- a culture of experimentation and mutual challenge/support
will enhance your organisation’s ability to respond to major challenges or seize opportunities. A culture of fear, blame and ‘keeping your head down’ will assuredly undermine it.
Change has an uncanny knack of polarising people, bringing out the best in some, and the worst in others. These are the times when a well thought through Change management programme, based on core values such as mutual respect, will stand you in good stead.
A recent client went through a major change for the whole business. The change was over a protracted time period and, whilst they had their ups and downs, they talked with real passion about their business. They felt the camaraderie that comes when people face major change together. And many felt that, perhaps for the first time, they could really experiment with those things that they had wanted to try for years. It was often said, “Why wasn’t it always like this!”
People need to look back over a period of major change and feel proud of themselves and of their organisation, to have learned from it and be motivated to face the next challenge… it will be along soon enough!