Organizations are continually going through change. Change allows them to grow, meet new objectives and veer toward new directions. This of course is not new information. For the number of times a new Strategic Plan is worked upon or unveiled or a new fiscal year’s budget is rolled up, change is expected. Yet, there are always people who are caught off guard.
The first snowfall hits the ground, and suddenly, people who were fully capable of handling icy roads eight months earlier at -30 degrees, find themselves swerving and trying to avoid running into other cars. The first hot day hits, and although you’ve been to the lake year after year, sunscreen is forgotten and you announce, you have a sunburn. So, is it that we choose to forget, choose to not adapt until we really have to, or simply don’t want to, deep down? Well, it’s really all of the above!
Organizations and the people in them are no different.
I recently was at a farewell luncheon for an individual who after many years in one role, would be embarking upon a new role. A role that I’m sure will be equally satisfying, perhaps in a different way, but none the less will prove challenging, interesting and very rewarding as time goes on. However, this is a major change and at some point, discomfort will occur. Frustration may also occur – even if he thinks it won’t. Our comfort zones are just that and branching out beyond them is meant to be different.
I recently conducted a presentation for a client on change. Although the book it was based on was well over 20 years old, and over half the room had read the book, the concepts were relevant, refreshing and participants acknowledged that the concepts were going to be very useful in the months to come. Being reminded of how to address the change that was about to occur was what they needed to hear.
An organization’s comfort zone (traditional line of business) is also a place that can provide great rewards, but can be different than the new environment the company is trying to get to! Whether its personal change or organizational change, expecting it, planning for it and embracing and accepting that it’s going to feel different is necessary – if you want to succeed.
How to prepare for organizational change
1. Acknowledge the change and that it will have an impact in some form.
Do you need to hire more people? Do you need to provide additional training? Do you need to create a formal communication plan so that the change is embraced smoothly? Do you need to seek out support or advice?
2. Set out a 30 day, 60 day and 90 day plan.
Create key dates where you can check in with yourself, your team and other stakeholders to measure progress, assess obstacles and invoke strategies to allow you to move forward.
3. Keep moving forward.
You may change your timeframe, and slow things down, but as long as the environment and people are moving forward, success is achievable. If the change is monumental, moving slower may allow people and organizations to become more comfortable with what needs to happen. Now, if a ‘cannonball’ change is required to move people and organizations forward, sooner, than ensure support is readily available.
4. Seek out the experts who can assist with moving through the change.
Organizations do not exist to simply change for the sake of changing. They must still retain customers, steward relationships, protect revenue, while they are branching out. The core function of the business must march along. Everyday business must still happen. Too often, organizations try to do it all themselves. Too often, people, assume they can handle any change that comes along all on their own. Yes, history is a good measure of how change will be accepted, but when re-enforcements are needed bring them in! A three month or six month engagement with additional resources, can provide the stability to your existing organizational priorities (or your current state of mind,) that will allow you to skillfully get ahead of the curve and move forward exceptionally well.
At Legacy Bowes, we have built a practise of assisting clients with change – whether it’s planned change or not. Our Three Pillars of Services – Search and Recruitment, Leadership Development and Business Advisory Services – are all areas that clients have called upon us to assist them as a whole or with their individual people to assist them with addressing a change. Whether it is expanding a team to address an expanding line of business, providing career transition services to people who are leaving, assisting with leadership coaching or team development to create more productive work units, we address the change this will involve. We assist organizations with finding funding and grants to address innovation and research development, conduct organizational reviews and assist with negotiating terms of reference to create better B-to-B relationships all with an exceptional understanding that change is at the forefront of each and every initiative. Assisting organizations with providing tools to allow organizations to remain nimble and successful with change are key.
So, whether its personal or organizational, do you have your re-enforcements in place? Do you see the change that is about to happen and are you really prepared? What’s stopping you from making the call…a road map to success is a phone call or email away!