Innovation and Enhanced Performance Through Change Management Throughout this website, we describe the complexity of today's leadership roles. Whether it's the challenge of managing a remote, geographically dispersed workforce or having to reconcile different approaches, values, communication styles, and methods of handling conflict, these are the hallmarks of today's diverse workplaces and workforces that need to be dealt with. Additionally, many organizations today are changing because of restructuring, outsourcing, offshoring, and M & A (merger and acquisition) activity. These changes produce stressors that, if not managed properly, can cause a generalized anxiety that impedes performance and inhibits innovation. Whether change is incremental or breakthrough, it needs to be managed, and when it isn't, it can create performance problems as well as issues with alignment between different functions, units, departments, or individuals.
By determining where a particular organization falls within the organizational life cycle, decisions can be made regarding the type of change that's needed and how best to implement it. Clearly, breakthrough change can be damaging in some scenarios, and incremental change can be insufficient in others. It's imperative that the appropriate method be decided upon and then supported with strategies that will facilitate effective implementation. A good starting point is to identify all the drivers that cause change and not simply primary drivers. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Drivers of Organizational Change
An important first step, when we assist clients in managing change, is to determine the cause of the change, the degree to which it will occur or is already occurring, and how it will be received or is currently being received. There are usually both visible and not-so-obvious drivers of organizational change, but most tend to be related to:
- new leadership - rapid growth
- new technology
- increased focus on innovation or culture transformation to foster high performing teams
- downsizing and divestiture
- business partnerships that include mergers and acquisitions (M & A)
- restructuring or redesign resulting from consolidation and/or downsizing _________________________________________________________________________________
The Cost of Not Managing or Mismanaging Change
Clearly, some change is more difficult to manage than others. Incremental change, for example, is a more gradual and time-phased process than breakthrough or unanticipated change. But almost all change causes anxiety among the recipients of it. Most important to keep in mind is that change is best managed as a process, not an event. Through leadership assessment and development, team assessment and development, andcoaching for innovation, leaders can develop or enhance skills that enable resilient responses to the change that goes hand in hand with innovation.
Most important to keep in mind is that change doesn't have to be a threatening scenario. When it's effectively managed, the challenges associated with change can be transformed into opportunities for growth, improved organizational effectiveness, and innovation that can energize and revitalize. In the case of M & A integration, effective change management can determine the difference between a positive and negative return on investment. What are some other ways in which organizations can effectively manage the kind of change that can create opportunities? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Communication, Communication, Communication
Organizational leaders manage change most effectively when they communicate the reasons for it and secure buy-in from the people who are affected by it. Sometimes new leaders or interim leaders are the best people to introduce and implement large-scale change, particularly cultural transformation. Why? Because new or interim leaders aren't yet a part of established teams, yet they are often empowered as change agents and can initiate change that would be difficult for other leaders who are invested in the status quo.
In still other scenarios, a consultant who isn't part of an existing team can be utilized as a change agent. However, sometimes these scenarios aren't possible, and organizations need to work with existing leaders, regardless of what their skill sets for leading and managing change might be. Additionally, they need to construct formal and informal communications strategies and action plans, ensuring that leaders have good communication skills. How can Innovative Outcomes help with that effort? _________________________________________________________________________________________
Strategy and Intended Outcomes of Change Management
Innovation Outcomes helps organizations minimize the deleterious affects of change by developing and implementing integrative strategies that open lines of communication and get leaders and associates actively participating in the change initiative. We believe that the initial success of most change initiatives is determined by how well leaders and designated change agents have been prepared for the resistance that inevitably comes with change.
Organizations need to actively lead change, not simply respond to it. And since change doesn't typically manifest as a single occurrence, it needs to be managed as an ongoing process, not an event. It's critically important at all stages of the change process to anticipate responses and create opportunities for two-way communication at all organizational levels. In this way, leaders can ensure that change is well-integrated and well-timed and that it has the necessary buy-in and sponsorship for successful implementation. To learn more about our change strategies and models for change, see our Culture Transformation brochure. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Innovative Outcomes tailors change management strategies to the needs and goals of particular organizations, but there are elements of change models that we employ in almost all engagements. A typical first step is to work with key leaders to identify the type of change that's needed (i.e., incremental vs. radical) and then identify leaders and associates with the skill sets that allow them to champion change and serve as models for change.
A coalition is then typically formed and leaders go through a visioning process to identify where the organization needs to go. In the next stage, gap analysis is employed, to assess the delta between the vision (i.e., where the organization needs to go, as in the "future reality"), where it is at present ("current reality"), and its "change readiness." In the next stage of the change management process, a plan is developed, to address gaps and outline action steps to close the gaps.
Since effective communication is critical to securing buy-in and sponsorship, Innovation Outcomes consultants also work with clients at this stage to construct formal communication plans as part of an overall large-scale change management strategic plan. We also work with leaders at this stage, on a one-on-one or team coaching basis, to address concerns and issues that may arise during communications processes.
Committees are then formed, and as plans are created and implemented, leaders and associates get validation that the organization is moving forward. To sustain enthusiasm and buy-in, it's critically important to celebrate short-term wins. Progress after this stage needs to be continually reinforced, through various forms of communication, recognition, and tangible and intangible rewards. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Benefits of Successful Change Management
What outcomes can organizations expect from professional change management consulting services? Through effective individual leadership development, team development, and coaching, leaders can:
acquire or enhance individual skills and abilities to facilitate innovation
solve complex problems and ensure ownership of change through collaborative problem solving
identify required improvements in organizational effectiveness and efficiency
take independent initiative to solve problems and present ideas
manage differences to eliminate or minimize implementation obstacles
adopt a resilient approach to change and lead change by setting positive examples
effectively manage merger and acquisition integration that requires buy-in and sponsorship
address problem performance and other obstacles assertively and empathetically
secure buy-in and sponsorship of through effective communication and feedback systems
retain high-performing associates by helping them to see the benefits of change
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To read what clients say about our change management services, click here.