Effective change starts at the top

Any change – big or small – is bound to cause ripples within an organisation. Even though all organisations need to go through some form of change at some point, we are all creatures of habit and don’t like it too much when the procedures we’re accustomed to get shaken up. So, how can leaders make sure they’re managing change effectively and leading their team to success?

Avoiding change isn’t the right course of action

There are some people who believe that everything is fine the way it is. Of course, not every organisation needs to go through dramatic changes every month to be successful but it would be an irresponsible way to lead if all managers thought that their organisation or team was perfect the way they were, with no room for improvement. Think back over the last 5 years – there will be big things along with small things that have changed in that time that have made you a more efficient, higher performing team.

It’s important to have a culture of change so that all team members, throughout your organisation, have a positive association with change. If your team can’t see the benefit of any change or have had bad experiences with change in the past, it’s going to be hard to get them on-board with the changes coming up in the future.

How can we combat failed change management?

Align the change with your values and communicate, communicate, communicate!

It’s no secret that people find it difficult to adapt to change if they struggle to understand where it fits into the bigger picture. If your change doesn’t fit in with the mission statement of your organisation or even align with your values, it might be an indication that it’s not the right kind of change to be making. If it does, make sure you’re clear in communicating that alignment to everyone.

According to a 2013 Tower Watson survey, only 40% of front-line supervisors felt like they were “getting the message” about the reasons behind major organisational changes. That means that more than half of these supervisors are wandering around leading change, with no idea why the change needs to be made. This is where it comes in handy to identify people throughout the organisation who support the change and assign them with the task of communicating and supporting others to adopt the change, so that it’s not resting on the shoulders of management alone. It’s important for change to be clearly communicated and implemented from the top so that it can cascade through every layer of the organisation with ease.

Keep it achievable and beware change fatigue!

You know that feeling when there seems to be something new to learn or to adapt to every month or worse, every week? It can be overwhelming and after a little while, it’s easy to be exhausted by the thought of having to be involved in some kind of change again. That’s called change fatigue and, according to Strategy&, 65% of executives, managers and employees have experienced some sort of change fatigue. It seems organisations are trying to do too much, too soon – try to keep it manageable for employees and managers alike.

All change should be working to something bigger and better but there’s no reason to make changes that are so overwhelming that they aren’t even possible at this point in your organisation’s life. Do you need more employees to make it happen? Maybe you need more funding? Make the small changes that get you into a position where you can start making the big changes. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

At the end of the day, change will always be happening in your organisation – the success of the change really depends on how well leadership communicates the change and leads it throughout the organisation. the way the change is communicated by the leaders within an organisation.

If you’re ready to make sure important change is adopted right throughout your organisation, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.