How many times have you read “orange is the new black”? I mean…“change is the new normal.” Countless articles have been published that explain how today’s business environment is evolving more quickly than ever before. At the off-chance you haven’t heard, change is now a constant.
If that’s the case then why is change management considered and approached as a separate activity from day-to-day management? Wouldn’t there be benefit to incorporating change management approaches into our regular management practices so that we can help accelerate business evolution on an ongoing basis? Why should change management only be “pulled out” for “big events” when change is happening all around us?
Based on today’s business environment, I’d argue that change management is what effectively managing today should look like. To manage today is to have the capabilities and mindset to be successful at managing change (and to thrive in this environment).
Here are 6 actions typically taken when managing change that leaders would benefit from adopting in their day-to-day operations:
- Understand stakeholder perceptions about the business to tailor communications and training approaches around areas of confusion or capability gaps (making your interactions more efficient and effective)
- Tell a compelling story to drive internal alignment among leaders and communicators and clarity among employees (making evolution feel more manageable and logical)
- Provide opportunities for discussion so employees can internalize information, ask questions and be a part of the change process (leading to increased ownership and faster adoption)
- Clarify roles to set clear expectations and responsibilities (instilling a culture of accountability)
- Train and develop teams so that they are supported to deliver successfully (building confidence)
- Measure progress and impact to identify needs, gaps and opportunities (accelerating results)
While the actions above aren’t particularly revolutionary, many of us only think about and apply them during times of change. It’s great that these moments remind us of these fundamentals, but it is important for us to keep them in mind at all times. Management should not be set to autopilot.
Regularly involving employees in conversations about the business, customers, products, and competitors will give them the context they need year-round to internalize potentially more frequent changes. It will also give them the opportunity to contribute their insights and ideas to make things better.
It’s not surprising that companies that foster and encourage agility will be better positioned to succeed in the months and years ahead. With change as one constant, how we manage should reflect this reality. In today’s environment, change management is really just good management.
Are you proactively managing for change or are you scrambling to adjust when it inevitably impacts you?