MAKE CHANGE A GAME-CHANGER

With the world facing an increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) situation, companies have no option but to change, sometimes at unparalleled rates, in order to survive. Some factors driving business change today include, but are not limited to:

  • Brand new technologies. Dependence and interconnection through technology have grown monumentally, yet this can still make everyone vulnerable because of cyber-attacks.
  • Demographic and economic trends. It is well-known that the median age of the Western population is on the rise. Thus, an older generation will inevitably have a greater voice in politics, at the same time these countries will face aging populations. As this happens, East Asia, India, and China which have younger populations and a growing middle class are expected to have the highest economic growth rate. It is not unreasonable to believe that soon the shift of economic power will move to the East.
  • Mobility and migration. Innovation is fuelled whenever there is intra-country and cross-border migration taking place. This is depicted by half of the new US patents that go to the first- or second-generation immigrants.
  • Faulty governments. The many challenges transpiring in this era appears unprecedented.

Risks for companies which fail to cope with change effectively

There will always be resistance to change. It is not out of the ordinary or even something bad. Yet, it is this same resistance that might lead a company to a dead end. Companies that struggle to cope effectively with change face certain risks:

1. Obsolescence of the product. There will always be a “new” service or product as consumer preferences, technology, and fashions evolve. If a company chooses not to keep up with technological updates and trends, it will end up manufacturing products or offering services that customers do not need or want anymore.
2. Obsolescence of processes. New technology and standards offer companies more cost-effective and efficient choices than what might have been adopted previously, but a company may choose to remain with older systems due to a lack of knowledge of what new systems are available, or simply resistance from long-standing employees. This can impact a company’s ability to innovate.
3. Abating influence in the industry. A company loses its influence within the industry if it fails to make significant changes, damaging its image among its affiliated companies and competitors. This then transforms the company’s image into a negative one among its clients and consumers. The general loss of influence ultimately causes a company to lose its projected revenue and its ability to attract exceptional talent.
4. Low morale among employees. Companies which do have a clear path forward to addressing change can bring about low morale, affecting performance and productivity among employees. This eventually motivates employees find opportunities elsewhere.

Making change a game-changer

Once a change has been identified as necessary for a company, everyone is affected, so everyone should be involved as well. Here are things that should be considered in making that inevitable change game-changing:

1. Set Priorities, Determine Readiness and Assess Behaviours

Is your company certain and ready for the transformation? Do you know what you should change first? Are your employees aware of the change you’re planning? These are the questions you should answer as you start to plan for the changes in your company.

You can determine the level of readiness for change through the behaviour of the employees. While it is normal for some to be resistant to change, if the majority of executive groups and employees favour change, the process should start.

2. Identify Fits and Gaps, Create Value and Build Adoption

Gaps in the company, such as skills gaps or equipment gaps, should be identified. Once these are identified, there will be clearer targets. Surveying employees and scrutinizing company processes are ways to pinpoint the gaps.

The essence of a company is to create value. The products or services that a company delivers should be based on the customers’ preferences and needs. A company’s value is set when the right products and services are provided to its customers.

Once the gaps and value are identified, the openness in building adoption or acceptance to the change should be determined next. This allows the leaders of the company to determine how effective the change will and how far the transformation can go.

3. Build Change Scoreboard and Track Change Effectiveness

Keeping track of change effectiveness is important for any company when it comes to change management. This is not an easy task. Many companies go through the pressure of creating a strategy to measure the framework of their standard change management.

The most important question that should be answered in measuring a company’s performance is “did the organization’s push to change meet what was predicted?” Some metrics that should be measured are:

  • Company’s Performance
  • Individual Performance
  • Management Performance
  • Effectiveness of Change Management

4. Apply Frameworks and Models That Are Tried and Tested

Some of the established and well-accepted change management frameworks used by many companies are:

  • Lewin’s change management model
  • Nudge theory
  • Satir change management model
  • McKinsey 7-S model
  • Kübler-Ross’ change curve
  • Kotter’s theory
  • Bridges’ transition model

Companies should:

  • Choose the framework that fits best. In selecting the best framework for change management, consider what your company wants to achieve. Also, take note of your organization’s weaknesses and strengths.
  • Apply the chosen framework. Think about the framework you select. It should fit well into the goals you create.
  • Evaluate your plan and your framework. Acquire a tool such as Cascade to scrutinize the alignment of your chosen framework with your key plan. This tool allows you to view the percentage of the goals in your plan, as they sit in every component of the change management framework you selected.

5. Avoid Pitfalls Relating to Planning, Implementing and Institutionalizing Change

Preparing extensively for change within a company allows you to avoid some of the pitfalls such as:

  • Late start
  • Misdiagnosing the company’s need for change
  • Lack of leadership
  • No plan to win
  • Just a fanfare
  • Lack of communication
  • Initiating change because others are doing it
  • Employees hear about the change from media sources first
  • Assuming the reaction will all be positive
  • Lack of resources and skills
  • Employees are not involved
  • Focusing only on long-term goals

6. Develop Change Agents to Manage Change Successfully

Change agents are necessary for every company change. They are known to have the power and capability to facilitate, coordinate, and stimulate the effort to change. They can be either internal or external. Any effort that involves change depends on the expediency and quality of the main decision-makers and the influence of change agents in the company.

Those who want company-wide changes may sometimes hire external change agents who will be able to bring a whole new outlook to process. On their own, these agents are disadvantageous because they do not know the company and its people. They are usually partnered with internal coordinators from the company’s various departments.

Change and Survive or Languish and Perish

Many companies typically run on the values and principles of the founders. Though the roots of the organisation may have been strong enough to hold the company for years, it has to change at some point given the VUCA environment of today.

The transformation needs to happen for many reasons, but the primary one is to stay afloat amidst the sea of competitors and disruptors in the industry. It is only through the management of change that a company can go through the transition smoothly and continue to survive for decades to come.

Next Step Forward

Do you need help getting your team to brainstorm new ideas to manage the changing landscape?
Or do you need help to bring your team on board the changes for effective implementation?

Contact us at admin@fns.sg to find out how we can help you with the generation of breakthrough ideas or enhancing commitment from your team for effective implementation of change initiatives.