Member News | 09.07.2018
By Laura Currie, The Leadership Factory
“Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change. It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change” (Mullins 2010: 753).
Do you agree? At The Leadership Factory, we strongly disagree!
Our vast experience of working with a variety of managers and leaders has shown us that the thought, focus and effort managers place on managing through change can make a significant difference to the outcome and results.
Change is the one constant in organisations today. A survey completed in 2018 by ScotlandIS showed that the vast majority of companies in the digital community are undergoing change of one kind or another, sometimes several changes simultaneously.
Change is no longer an event, but a way of life. Change is driven by numerous factors – sophisticated customers demanding more, better, faster, cheaper; rapidly developing technology; challenging economic environment; the global competitive marketplace; and increased demands from staff for opportunity, career development, and work/life balance.
We strongly believe that leaders are responsible for facilitating change – initiating change, leading change, managing it, responding to it, helping others learn to adapt, and dealing with its effect on people and their performance.
So, where does it start?
At The Leadership Factory, we believe that 3 of the most important steps in leading successful change are:
Once you’ve communicated the need for change and the new direction, spend time listening to how people feel about the change. Here’s something you could try. Ask your staff to list what they see as both the positive and negative aspects of a planned change. Then they should sort the answers into either “process” factors or “emotional” factors. At The Leadership Factory, our experience is that when we ask people, 70% or more will describe change in emotional terms rather than process ones.
It’s essential for leaders and managers to be role models for the new ways of doing things, visibly adopt the new processes and act in accordance with the desired change. It’s critical to “burn your bridges” – that is ensuring there is no way back by challenging those people that keep doing things the old way – don’t allow it!
When results are gained quickly, this builds momentum and creates a sense of achievement and optimism. Short-term wins provide feedback about the validity of the change, build faith in the change project and remove the power of the cynics.
A global company much admired for its continued evolution and successful change management is Nintendo. Nintendo has remained at the forefront of the highly competitive Gaming Industry for several decades. Since the release of its flagship Gameboy product back in 1989 and the subsequent introduction of the Super Mario Bros, Nintendo has continued to reinvent the gaming platforms on which these games are used, as well as the games themselves. A great example of leading change rather than reacting to it.
Moving closer to home, one of our Edinburgh based clients has recently undergone significant organisational change. A need was identified to create and cultivate an environment conducive to discovery and innovation. In order to involve everyone in the change as well as encouraging teamwork and collaboration, everyone in the team moves seats every 6 months – including the Managing Director.
If you are currently going through organisational change or know that change at some point is inevitable for your company, take comfort in the fact that it’s happening to every other company and that there are many positive steps you can take to ensure an effective and successful outcome!
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