How can a CEO be ready for successful change management?
Wikipedia defines Change management (CM) as any approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations using methods intended to re-direct the use of resources as represented by business processes, budget allocations or other modes of operation that significantly reshape a company or organization.
Today’s business environment demands that there be strategies for rapid organizational change. However, the existing structures, cultures, and routines of organizations are often resistant to change.
Organizational transformation is most often dictated by external innovations in technology as against internally generated innovations.
When a response to external developments is required, organizations that adapt most quickly will create a competitive advantage for themselves; companies that refuse to change or are slow to change will get left behind and may accrue major financial losses.
When innovation comes from within, it may be possible to introduce change more gradually, thereby, allowing a more comprehensive financial analysis and a greater consideration of staffing issues.
Here is some practical guidance for the CEO:
- Get ready for the change on a personal level
1. Being head of the organisation, you would naturally feel a heavy burden on your shoulders with a fear of failure or of not achieving your goals for the business. Perhaps you should talk with a colleague, trusted friend or coach about your apprehensions.
2. Remember that if you do not believe in the plan, neither will anyone else. Your coach might help you with a mental toughness program or by increasing your personal effectiveness.
- Get ready for the change on a corporate level
- Draw a concrete change management plan including the objectives, content and processes and communicate this to all managers of all departments & all employees. Encourage feedback from everyone. This often is the longest process in change management. It is important to allow time for this process for, if done well, it will make for widespread support in the organisation.
- Change management should begin with systematic analyses of current systems and processes in order to determine both the organization’s need for change relative to the broader business environment as well as it’s capability for change. Such analyses should lead to the identification of specific targets for change.
- Train employees in the skills necessary to adapt to change: Organizational change directly affects all departments and all employees. The entire company must learn how to handle changes to the organization. The effectiveness of change management can have a strong positive or negative impact on employee morale.
- Demonstrate initiative and leadership skills to establish trust within the organisation.
- Once the direction of change is established and apprehended, allow employees to take charge of the change as well as their need to upskill.
- Change management is a never ending process! Make sure you acknowledge small wins every day!
One of our clients – an education provider in Sydney has gone through the process of moving their accounting and sale systems into a new cloud ERP for the purposes of increasing productivity & sales.
In the first instance, they thought they had everything ready: budget for the system, accounting & marketing staff well trained, all directors and managers ready and positive about the change.
After few months of running with the new system, they realised they had to modify some procedures regarding their customer interface. Feedback indicated this to be quite cold and uncaring.
Their second problem was that while they achieved more sales after applying the new system, they had underestimated the extra staff required to deal with such increased volume.
The client engaged us for help. We rectified the situation by modifying a number of operational procedures and providing them with a budget and cashflow that allowed them to confidently employ the staff required, along with the necessary coaching.
Making sure you have resources that you can apply where and when you need them is essential to successful change management. This requires a careful analysis of where you are, where you are going and what you expect to find.