Managing change is a HUGE initiative. There are countless moving parts, it involves and impacts everyone in your organization, and it is necessary for your organization to compete, grow and succeed—now and into the future.
Even if you understand the need for change, turning this need into a viable change management plan that addresses everything is virtually impossible. There will be things you overlook when developing your change management plan. The key is to minimize these oversights.
There are three things that commonly get overlooked by leadership that can quickly derail your plans:
1. Address the human element of change
Change impacts people. It impacts them directly in the form of changes in responsibilities, new teams, job changes, promotions, demotions, training, new skill development, and more.
As I have previously stated in Why Creating Change Requires an Emotional Connection, “No matter how powerful the rational argument, whether you are a leader, marketer, or even a parent, it is not until you’ve touched their hearts and create an emotional connection that you will be able to change a person’s behavior.”
Change is hard for people to accept, especially if they are well entrenched in your organization. People will feel threatened by it and show resistance if you fail to create an emotional connection with the person.
It is crucial to stir emotions strongly enough to overcome the natural tendency to slide back into the comfort of old habits. This can only happen when you address the human element of change.
2. Involve all levels of your organization
Change impacts everyone—from leadership down to territory and department managers, and your front-line, customer-facing team. It has an impact on all levels of your company, and leaders cannot afford to lose sight of this. Successful change management plans involve people at all levels.
To do this, identify leaders and change advocates throughout your company to assist with the transition and implementation. They can not only generate feedback about the changes taking place, you can also train these organizational leaders on all aspects of the change management plan—the vision, change process, roles, and most importantly, give them the tools to hold others accountable.
3. Assess the cultural landscape
Anytime you make changes, it will impact organizational culture. As I said in 6 Ways for Leaders to Create Organizational Change, “Any change made internally has the ability to directly impact organizational culture. How new direction impacts culture needs to be part of the change conversation you have with your team. Organizational culture has a lot of power and impact on change, and you cannot afford to overlook this or you will have difficulty with employee engagement and getting your people to buy into your new vision.”
Continuously use feedback mechanisms such as open forums, surveys, training sessions and other techniques to capture how change is impacting culture.
Making sure these commonly overlooked change management elements are addressed will help leaders keep their finger on the pulse of how change is being adopted, its impact on organizational culture, and where and how to address implementation issues.