8 secrets to manage change
Alex Shootman is the CEO of Workfront, a leading company in cloud-based business work management solutions since 2016. In addition to this position he is also an author and blogger. According to the site cloudwedge.com (specialists in news technology, reviews and opinions), a critical skill for managers, says Alex Shootman, is what he calls “translating the message”, that is to say, the ability to transmit the goals of senior management to the rest of the organization. This concern for transition which companies are experiencing led Alex Shootman to publish, along with Workfront in 2017, the e-book: “Make Your Work Matter: 7 Thought Leaders on Why Work Is not Working For You and How You Can Change It.” From this material I am going to share the ideas found in the chapter written by Jada Blaster, “The 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Change Management.” Blaster, a respected marketing leader, says: “Change is an inevitable part of life and business, and yet we manage to fail miserably 75% of the time (…). Clearly, it is easier to fail in change than to succeed.” Blaster shares four things we should do and four things we should avoid:
- You must: create a business case for change. It is vital to have a solid business case that conveys a clear message in favor of change and have the data to support it. Why are you making the change? What will be achieved? What could happen if you don’t change? It is preferable to correct false assumptions that this is a frivolous or unnecessary decision.
- You must: create a systematic communication plan. You have to share the right things with the right people at the right time or rumors will start to spread. Blaster suggests that we include employees, partners and customers in this strategy.
- You must: Involve employees in the process. When employees feel involved, they participate more and support the effort, and are less likely to offer resistance.
- You must: celebrate small victories. Even if there are 37 phases ahead, stop and celebrate, even if it is only to publicly acknowledge the contributions of each individual or team and order pizza.
- Avoid: starting too late. When a project has time pressure, it is never done as it should. If there is not enough time to do the full job, it is better to reduce the scope of the change or postpone the initiative until you have the necessary time. Otherwise, it will be a futile effort.
- Avoid: losing the momentum of change. When launching a change project, you have to plan it correctly: “You don’t want to unleash this great fanfare and ignite the excitement in your team, just to continue with weeks of silence on the radio,” Blaster tells us.
- Avoid: ignoring internal resistance. Like change, resistance is inevitable. “There will always be people who like things mostly as they were before, especially those who have been with the company for longer. Allow people to express their doubts properly. Listen to them. Give them time to assimilate the reasons for the change. Let the resistance run its course. Rushing people through their reactions or ignoring them, only strengthens their opposition,” advises Blaster. In the end, it is up to each team member to decide whether to stay onboard or get off at the next stop.
- Avoid: expecting systems to change behaviors. A company may be changing one central system for another, incorporating an RPA tool that automates processes and revolutionizes financial processes or productivity. Blaster warns us: “It may be tempting to believe that this new and brilliant tool, system or process will be a magic wand, capable of solving all your problems. But there is much more work to do. You must address behaviors, beliefs, culture, training and other essential elements of adoption. Key people are needed to defend change [champions of change] and lead by example, to help others adopt and adapt to the new solution.”
Projects such as automation through RPA are traditionally part of a major change strategy. Change Management is a fundamental tool in implementation, but even more, in transmitting the message behind the change. This message is sometimes the key to getting the motivation and cooperation of the rest of the team.
Author: Conciliac Team.
“Make Your Work Matter: 7 Thought Leaders on Why Work Isn’t Working For You and How You Can Change It”, 2017, Workfront (www.workfront.com)
“Geek of the Week: Alex Shootman , CEO of Workfront ”, June 2019, www.cloudwedge.com