“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates
Change is constant and necessary for growth and survival of an organization. As a discipline,Change Management has existed for decades; however, as organizations embrace the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, the significance of purposeful & successful Change Management is being felt more & more. Continuous innovation that results in a constantly evolving business environment has revolutionized business and the effect of this is an ever-increasing need for change. Effective change management is an investment and contribution towards organizational development. The need for organizational change could arise from anything - rightsizing, development and change in technologies, processes, operations and major partnerships.
Change Management endeavors to bridge the gap between the technical aspect of a new project and the social aspect of the business while smoothly transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state. When an organization proposes a major change, it’s bound to be viewed as exciting to some people and threatening to others. This is perhaps the biggest challenge to managing change.
An ideal change management project should be introduced in a phased manner ensuring that all stakeholders understand how this change will affect them, have the support to make this change happen and possess the tools to overcome any challenges that may arise without too much frustration. Cultivating acceptance and support are necessary components for successfully managing nearly any change within a business.
Essential to change management are thoughtful steps that will lead to an all rounding success – satisfied employees, happy customers, willing sponsors and investors and a strong connection of business partners. Amway has developed a global change management model which includes drawing out the stakeholders in order of the most critical to least critical to the change. The people associated to the organizationcould include consumers, community, sponsors, partners and employees. While consumers and sponsors are indirectly affected by change, the business partners and employees are directly impacted.
The most critical stakeholders are the employees, some of which maybe directly impacted, some of which may not be. It is critical that they are on board for change management. As per our global change management model, we classify impacted groups of people into four broad categories:
1. Advocates –who have the ability to influence others in the organization and are willing and able to drive positive change;
2. Influencers with concern – who have questions or concerns and have the ability to influence others- up, down or across the organization;
3. People with concern – who may have questions or concerns about the change, or do not support the change;
4. Listening Posts – who are well connected and can provide a review of the reaction to change
The next most critical stakeholders are the business partners, including supply chain partners, as they help in driving sales and are representatives of the organization. The consumers of an organization are indirectly affected. The results of the revision affect consumer behavior towards the organization and hence, profits. Following consumers are sponsors, who hold active interest in progress of the organization and hold the power of indirectly approving or disapproving a decision.
Once change management has been implemented, the concerned employees go through the Change Management Model including the ‘change curve’ – where the stakeholders adjust to the amendments made in the system and benefit themselves from the newly formulated roles and positions.
The most practical Change Management model reduces the time lost and productivity drop between the four stages of the ‘Change Curve’ – Denial, Resistance, Exploration & Commitment. Structures, roles and responsibilities must be established throughout each level of the organization in order to support change and to keep stakeholders engaged. If we do not successfully manage the emotional side of change related to major projects then most likely, a variety of complications can arise including lack of acceptance, increased resistance from employees, rising frustration, lack of clear path to achieve and sustain desired goals, reduced productivity during the change period, Delay in achieving business continuity and greater reliance on the assigned team to deliver the desired benefits rather than the employees themselves.
Organizational Change Management is a critical success factor for organizations with the following conditions present:
1. Competing priorities, goals, objectives and values
2. When people, process, technology or policy changes are implemented
3. Transitioning from a region based organization to a global integrated organization or from a function or region-based organization to a process-based organization
4. Changing the way people work and how they carry out their job
5. When People have difficulty in understanding why the change has been introduced
6. When impacted stakeholder groups have little experience of the new technology or work platform
7. When the cost justification and benefits are not easily communicated at all the levels of the organization
The success of a change management practice depends on both Delivery & Adoption. Change Management is now an evolved discipline. While communication & training play a big role, Change Management embodies continuous engagement, onboarding, acceptance & adoption.
While projects may be delivered as required but may fail to deliver the results if the people who are to run them have not understood, accepted & embraced the changed work scenarios.
How can we reduce the adoption risks associated with large scale Transformation Initiatives and the emotional side of change:
1. Engagement and communication begins at the beginning of the program and continues through months after they are instigated
2. Comprehensive strategy on how to engage and manage change readiness for all impacted stakeholders – no matter how small the impact scope is
3. Focus on messages to explain why we are changing and how this change impacts users
4. Leverage leaders to communicate “What’s in it for me?”
5.Continuously measure adoption, buy-in, effectiveness throughout the duration of the project
6. Engage employees at all level within the region and provide tactical readiness
Like most companies, Amway has also embraced Change Management. During its current transition from Organization Restructure to ERP Deployments to various other large & medium sized projects, Amway has identified, trained change consultants across functions & geographies to ensure that all transformation areas involve people engagement & readiness from the outset. The role of HR is also defined to effectively and efficiently help employees accept this change. Amway’s change management framework consists of 4 defined stages – Discover, Plan, Deliver & Sustain/Support.
Successful organizations understand that doing things the same way will produce the same results and that sometimes, changing things is needed to take the organization to the next level. At the end of the day world-renowned scientist Charles Darwin’s theory holds true not only in the evolution process, but in case of organizations too - “It’s not the strongest who survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
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