Change Is On Your Side
All businesses that want to remain relevant need to be ready to reprioritize at any moment. This need for flexibility occurs in response to changes in the market, evolving client expectations, commitments to employees or any number of other internal and external factors. So, how can you keep up with it all?
Last year our senior leadership team aggregated all the known initiatives in our respective areas and came up with a whopping 81 projects company-wide. Having these documented allowed us to quickly, and easily, reprioritize when the “unknown” undoubtedly popped up. This exercise also uncovered that there were 81 opportunities to “get it right” and make our company better – or 81 chances to get it blissfully wrong and frustrate the hell out of everyone along the way.
Now, I’m not idealistic. I expect that there will always be a mix of hits and misses – ideally, there’s more of the good and less of the not-so-good. One thing I know for sure is that the likelihood of disengaging people along the way and falling short of the expected outcome is exponentially increased without an effective change management strategy. This is true no matter how sexy or exciting a new initiative might be.
A lot of companies have project management down to a science. But what’s too often forgotten is the importance of managing change for people in a way that's easily digestible and where results are realistically achievable. Unfortunately, skipping a change management strategy results in failed projects, disengaged stakeholders and ultimately lost productivity and revenue!
So, what is change management? In a nutshell, it focuses on moving individuals, teams and processes from a current state to a new, desired state. It requires everyone involved to slow down, consider who will be impacted by a project or initiative and then take the time to get buy-in early, and often, to make sure everyone understands the need for change and feels ready to tackle a new challenge.
If you’re a project manager, business leader or just wondering why initiatives at your organization fall flat – I recommend checking out the book Change Management: The People Side of Change by Jeffrey Hiatt and Timothy Creasey. It’s a short read with practical advice that goes a long way when implemented.
Most people don’t love change – so don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
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