Organizational Change Made Simple
5 Simple Methods for Organizational Change
First of all, I said simple, not easy. Change, regardless of the degree, is often problematic and difficult for individuals as well as organizations. Yet change is unavoidable, it’s a fact of life.
The organizational change process, however, can be made simple through the lessons of a simple analogy, the human being. For example, when we, the human being, wants (or needs) to lose weight, we may chose to do so by crash or fad dieting, exercising, fasting, pills, herbs, hypnosis, or any combinations thereof. Additionally, our mindset is to lose the weight yesterday, in other words, quickly and effortlessly, regardless of how long it took us to gain the weight. Unfortunately, the average person that goes the route of the quick and easy usually finds themselves regaining the weight in a matter of a few weeks or months. Sound familiar?
When a business or an organization needs to “lose weight” or reduce expenses, for example, the organization goes through a similar process as the person trying to lose weight. Organizations usually go the crash or fad route by laying-off workers, cutting benefits or programs, reducing wages, etc. This crash or fad approach typically produces the same results, short-term gains. When the business climate improves then it is back to business as usual. Businesses start to hire again, reinstate benefits and programs, etc. The cycle repeats itself.
An Effective & Better Way
The most effective method for an individual to lose weight is with a sensible healthy diet and regular exercise that is an on-going lifestyle change. No going back to the old ways of doing things. The same method applies for organizational change. Here are 5 simple steps for facilitating organizational change:
- Establish the change is related to your vision for the future. Map out the way for achieving the change by detailing how to close the gap from where the organization is today and where it wants to be in the future. Publish the vision so everyone knows where you and they are going and operate by it to show you are determined to get there.
- Set specific goals to make the changes happen and include everyone in the organization. Focus on employee and customer engagement goals based on the changes being implemented. When your employees are engaged in your business, believing their contributions are important, recognized and rewarded appropriately then your employees will understand the importance of customer engagement. When your customers are engaged, they are loyally purchasing your products or services.
- Communicate change progress regularly to your employees and customers. Let your employees know how the business is doing. Create a forum for getting their thoughts and ideas on how to grow or improve the business. Communicate how you will use those suggestions. Use various means for getting your message communicated to accommodate the various individual preferences for receiving information.
- Ask for feedback about the change by creating an environment where employees feel they are able to give constructive feedback without the fear of reprisal. Healthy communication keeps the rumor mill at bay. This is an effective method for promoting employee engagement too!
- Stick to a regular training program that will help establish the changes within the organization’s culture. All training should be planned strategically to enhance your employees’ skills and knowledge in respects to achieving the vision. Never have your employees participate in a training program that is not supported or related to the organizational changes or vision back on the job. The best results are achieved when everyone within the organization participates, from senior leadership to the latest entry-level new hire.
Following these 5 simple, but not easy, methods for facilitating organizational change will take time and 100% effort from everyone within the organization. What results can you expect? A healthy organization, fit to withstand tough challenges (economic, competition, etc.) and a long a prosperous life.