By Cameron Katoozi, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
We live in a fast-changing business environment where companies are constantly adapting to new trends and regulations. Businesses need a way to handle unique global changes in a manner everyone in the org can support and follow. As a marketing or sales leader, you need to be aware of these opportunities and take advantage to stay ahead of the curve.
For example, many B2B companies who want to implement an ABM approach require serious change management across their sales and marketing departments – but implementing organization-wide changes is no easy feat. These types of changes need full acceptance across your org, with sound strategies and processes behind them. So, how are modern leaders approaching priorities and vision changes?
What is Change Management?
Change Management is the systemic approach to working through the transformation of organizational goals, processes, technologies, or core values. The initiative of change management is to restructure the way your employees do work currently and assist them in adopting and accepting that change. This may be a hard pill to swallow for most employees, as with human nature, people tend to be stuck in their comfortable ways and meet change with heavy resistance.
At the initial announcement of organizational change, many employees will immediately feel discomfort or fear for their jobs. Common thoughts that rush through their minds may be “how will this affect my current career trajectory?” or “will this change negatively impact my happiness/satisfaction at work?” It’s normal to feel this way, but as leaders, we need to instill security and reassurance that what is being changed is for the betterment of everyone involved.
Why is it Important?
A common approach to managing change is usually top-down, where leadership will create a plan for a widespread rollout. This method may seem logical, but it is not always the best solution for long-term success. When these initiatives inevitably yield unsuccessful results, leadership may be quick to blame their employees. The issue lies in the strategy and implementation part of change management – meaning it comes from the top. With the complexity of modern org structures, a top-down approach will almost always be ineffective. Proper change management should be an inclusive effort that includes input from all departments. It’s necessary to realize that change is constant, and a one-time solution will not solve all our issues.
Further, change management is necessary for companies to succeed against competitors and overall growth. Successful change management allows employees to understand why it’s important. This will make the transition of work productive as possible. Without effective change management, companies will be looking at an expensive transition period in terms of money, people, time, and resources.
What are Some Best Practices?
To fight the inevitable resistance to change and demonstrate that this is the best option for the company, here are a couple of best practices to follow.
Create clear and attainable goals
A clearly defined set of goals outlined to your organization will give them the direction and peace of mind they need during this stressful transition. Having attainable goals broken down into steps (quarterly, monthly, weekly, etc.) can help visualize responsibility. Having these goals laid out at the beginning gives you a reference to evaluate your performance and make necessary adjustments.
Encourage open communication
Interpersonal communication is a top priority for a company of any size. If employees currently do not have an open line of communication with their management, you are already at a disadvantage. Initiate the conversation with your employees to get their initial thoughts and perspectives on change management. Communication doesn’t only apply to manager/employee relations. It’s equally important that team members are empowered to communicate with each other, as they are all experiencing similar thoughts. Remember to listen to your employees’ feedback to uncover areas of improvement and gauge their feelings throughout the implementation process.
We don’t want our team members to feel like they are going through this new endeavor alone. Developing a plan for training sessions allows employees to adapt to these new changes and be better prepared for implementation. If you’re short of resources, this can be training offered by an outsourced organization, depending on the material being taught. This will instill reassurance in your team members, and set them up on a path to success.
With change management comes a plethora of new documentation and various content. We don’t want to overwhelm our teams with new information presented during meetings for them to never see those documents again, or struggle to locate the right info. To avoid wasted time, create a central area for everything related to your transformation, so it is easily accessible for everyone.
Wrapping it up
Change Management is no simple task; it requires a team effort from all organization members. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to approaching change management – but merely an eye opener to what it entails, and why your team should consider it soon. There are many different models (Kotter’s 8-Steps, ADKAR, Kurt Lewis, etc.) online that can help you take the right approach to change management, but these are not end-all solutions. Different organizations may require a mix of these models to be as effective as possible. Take the best practices listed here to help kickstart your new journey and empower those around you.