When an organization plans any sort of major change, it is bound to be viewed as exciting to some team members ... and threatening to others.
This is perhaps the biggest challenge to Organizational Change Management (OCM).
With OCM, cultivating not only acceptance, but support, is a critical requirement for successfully managing any change within an enterprise. OCM is all about employee morale - it is about attitude, and perhaps more importantly, it is about how attitude affects an organization's capability to adopt changes and grow with them.
Organizational change management is all about doing the planning, assessing the teams and individuals, and using all the tools at your disposal to remain proactive and communicate clearly every step of the way.
According to Gartner, there are several key challenges to implementing organizational change management effectively.
Transformation leaders assume everyone understands the objectives of the business transformation, and fail to develop a common vision that unifies everyone's understanding and points them in the right direction. This is where failure starts.
Conflicting messages about what is changing splinter the audience and, ultimately, will derail a transformation effort.
Top-down messages that are too general or full of "enterprise-speak" leave much open to interpretation and do not enable those in the organization who will need to support the change to take specific action.
Organizational change activities are often an afterthought and commonly associated with training.
To address these challenges, it is critically important an organization develop a common vision of transformation and ensure it is commonly understood, as well as keep all corporate communications harmonized to avoid conflicting information and false expectations.
With a strategic change management plan, an organization has a vision for what the process of change will look like, and what milestones must to be reached to achieve important end goals - including addressing employee concerns and feedback. This allows those in charge of the transition to assess the success of the project during each critical stage, and also provides an opportunity to motivate individuals and teams to help achieve the desired goals with recognition for those who succeed.
Development of a comprehensive communication plan that is constantly evolving as more information becomes available is a key component in organizational change management. While some sacrifices may be necessary to reach desired goals, an organization should be able to implement change without harming current operations - if communications are current, comprehensive and supportive. An effective change management plan will consider what individuals and teams need in order to continue doing their jobs and maintain day-to-day operations without noticeable negative effects.
Why Change At All?
Change is increasingly cited as a key factor required to improve the success rate and achieve ROI of major organizational changes, including new technology implementations, process efficiency improvements, restructurings, consolidations and system upgrades.
In fact, many credible studies have noted that failure to engage an organization in the change process results in predictable failure rates as high as 70 to 80 percent. Ensuring success of corporate change initiatives requires a structured approach that combines best practices with proven methodologies to help organizations navigate from the current state environment to the desired future state vision - creating a change-capable organization.
Despite all best efforts, change can still be met with several obstacles in any organization - including denial and resistance.
With the proper approach to being a change-capable organization, a firm can diminish negative realities that are a part of a change initiative and accentuate on the positives that corporate change inspires - satisfaction, exploration, commitment and hope.
Addressing the concerns of employees allows organizations to be more efficient and effective.
Developing a change management plan will allow an organization to address employee concerns and keep the lines of communication open with all the individuals and teams involved in the transition.
When employees see that the leaders in their organization have taken the time to develop a change management plan that considers their wants and needs, they are bound to perform better and get more involved in the transition. Additionally, by simply creating a plan that considers all the individuals and teams involved in the transition, an enterprise can reduce the possibility of an unsuccessful attempt to change, and reduce the amount of time it takes to implement positive change.