Changes became a part of daily living. Some years ago, the pace of changes was at much slower rate. A few hundred years ago, there was even less changes. But today the changes are accelerating in every aspect of our life. In our private life we see the changes every day.
Changes are reflecting to the business as well. Things that were actual yesterday, became obsolete today. Also, things that suit to the business needs today will not be good enough tomorrow. Every company and every employee within, need to keep up the changes. Otherwise it will become obsolete. It is in the human nature to look for the comfort zone and try to stay there. But in order to survive in today’s business environment, it is necessary to constantly move outside of the comfort zones. Otherwise the company is gradually staying behind the others and becoming obsolete in the business environment.
It is crucially important to understand that changes are inevitable. It is important for every individual to understand his/her role in making the changes happen and what is required to deliver successful and sustainable change. Some researches shows that at least 65% of change initiatives are failing. The implemented change that didn’t last a day after the project is “successfully” completed is also failure in the change process itself. There are many reasons for failure of changes.
People sometimes allow themselves too much easiness. They focus on one segment of change instead on all segments. They fail to make strong change team. They underestimate the power of vision, or they miscommunication the vision to all stakeholders. They may declare victory too soon. They forget that the culture is changing very slowly. Finally, they forget to follow up the change process.
Sustainable change management requires structured change process. There are many change management systems. The weakness of most of them is their complexity. Due to their complex structure they are not applicable to small, daily projects and changes. The good change management system need to be simple, but still robust enough to support every change process.
The first step in the change management process is the engage all stakeholders in the change process. It is necessary to build the sense of urgency for change. Objectives and benefits of change should be known. Establishing the sense of urgency is important, in order to gain cooperation that will bring the necessary change into the company.
In order to initiate the change process successfully it is necessary to form the team. The project team should present the sustainable power and expertise. The team needs to be composed of people that possess the various areas of expertise. The team should have power of position, expertise, credibility and leadership.
The vision should be the factor that will motivate and guide all stakeholders to the change destination. The vision need to clarify the future that will be different than the current state.
The change initiative needs to be communicated in a appropriate way. The communication needs to be done internally and externally. Proper communication of change process requires detailed plan. But, before we build the plan, we must make sure that we have sufficient technical competencies for communicating the plan.
People react in a different way to the change.Typical pattern of phases in acceptance of changes is through the following stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance.
In order to sustain the change process you need to reinforce the process and follow up the results. This will require from manager to apply various types of support and pressure. The pressure needs to be applied according the situation. The purpose of the pressure is to produce creative tension that will lead to success.