In comparison to any other time in history, our world is changing at an explosive rate. Some changes come banging on our front door without any warning. While other changes stem from desires that we may be uncertain on how to bring to fruition. Needless to say, the problem in this day in age is not options or opportunity!
Some areas in the business world that are quickly evolving are company culture, technology, internal processes, and corporate hierarchy. Simultaneously, there are changes applicable to our personal lives such as navigating personal and family time or work benefit preferences. Whether facing these specific changes or others, it is clear that change is inevitable.
What’s Exciting About Change?
John Maxwell once said, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Recognizing and experiencing change is not enough to propel one into deep discovery. To do so, it is vital that change is pursued and managed with the greatest effort and by effectively leveraging the tools that are available.
Though change is a wonderful opportunity for personal growth, within a business setting, it is also necessary. It may seem daunting to stay current with industry and market trends, or to know how to implement a new business model. However, it is important to do so!
You may have heard of “change management”, as it is a term that has been buzzing around in recent months. As a matter of fact, it is believed to be so vital that it is adopted as a required learn in many businesses and universities. We want to break down this process for you, not only because it is currently trending, but because it can help you to optimize your business…and your life!
So, what are the six steps that compose change management?
Step One: Goal Development
The first and most crucial step in change management is to identify what you need or want to improve, create, or deplete. In some cases, change becomes quickly necessary such as with a loss of a staff member or due to a shift in your current industry. On the other hand, change may be a want, offering more time to develop a goal. No matter what prompts the decision, intentionality is key. By pinpointing what the desired change looks like, a goal can be easily developed and used to maintain relevancy and ambition until brought to fruition. The focused clarity that is created at the beginning has the strength to ignite others throughout the following steps.
Step Two: Determine Impact
It is likely that a change to your business or personal life will impact multiple different segments. For example, say you are pursuing a shift in the way business meetings are conducted at your organization. You will need to account for communication to the entire company, as many personnel may lead and participate in daily meetings. Or, say you want to implement a personal change such as spending an hour each day journaling and reading. Before starting that new routine, consider what you did or who you typically would spend that time with. With every “yes”, there is a “no” given to all other alternatives. It is by determining the full impact of a choice that the best “yes” can be given. In addition, understanding the full scope of change will aid you in your development down the road.
Step Three: Assemble Your Team
As an initiator involved in change management, it is vital that you know what your goal is, why it is important, and who you can count on to bring this change to fruition – because after this, it’s go time!
In this step, take time to evaluate who your main supporters may be. Seek out natural influencers and those who are gifted in galvanizing and rallying around an idea. You will want to create a change management team consisting of a project manager, leadership members, and team members.
- Your project manager is going to be the top individual. This is your point person who will keep the project on route and pivot as needed. Warning: this may be you. Are you ready for the responsibility?
- The leadership members should be picked based on need and the segments of your company or personal life that will be most affected, otherwise referred to as subject matter experts. For example, if your desired change is to hire different talent, you will want Human Resource leaders on your team to provide specific knowledge and insight. Personally, if you want to focus more on your mental health, you may want a counselor or mentor on your change team.
- Finally, select your team members, who are those responsible for assisting with the transition. Team members may be charged with tasks such as training classes or being available to address employee questions and concerns. Depending on the scope of change, team members may not be necessary.
Step Four: Strategy Development
One of your greatest assets to encourage buy-in is the communication of a clear strategy. Your strategy should outline how communication will operate, what phases are necessary, how the team will track results, and what success looks like. Especially do not move on from this step unless a timeline is in place. If you have a soft deadline for your strategy, it is likely that your desired change may stay in that phase and remain unfulfilled.
Collaboration with others, whether those from your assembled team or those with an outside perspective is something to pursue here! The best strategy is one that is created with the input of many unique lenses. Take time to formulate your process and sharpen the ability to connect the foreseen benefit to every step in the unfolding change.
Step Five: Implement Your Plan
After determining what your plan is, get to tackling the first objective! Take it step by step, creating time and space to acknowledge what has been accomplished along the way. Communication builds trust. So, check in with the people and process throughout (this includes checking in with yourself, too).
Resources should be available during the life of the project to maintain the momentum generated at the beginning. Some general resources to consider are meetings, an active accountability partner, or a visual board that outlines goals and success routinely.
Step Six: Reflect And Review The Outcome
Create time to compare the degree of change achieved to what was initially desired. Did your team stay on track? If the final change differed from the intent, what are the implications?
After the change team has thoughtfully reviewed the results, make certain that anyone and everyone that will be affected by the change is communicated to. For future success, explain the function and purpose of the change to all company personnel, or those within your inner circle if the change is personal. People respond to change differently. Therefore, you will want to ensure that you have the support for the change as you introduce it to others.
Why Managing Change Is Important
No matter what role you have, your team, peers, and inner circle are taking ques from you. Energy travels. People learn from watching others make decisions. Embarking on a journey of change can be intimidating, as everyone’s comfortability with change depends on their personality and the potential growth believed to stem from the change. However, it is important to note that your comfortability with change affects your relationship with risk and reward. If you want more growth, more opportunity, more reward, then pursue what is evolving and blossoming around you. The change management process allows you take what you know is vital to your company or life, and run it through six steps that will lead to somewhere new.
After all, change is just part of the business…the business of life!