Top 5 Mistakes Made by Organizations When Implementing Change

With the rapid changes in technology and globalization the past decade has seen organizations of all types undergo change more than ever before. The experiences of other organizations that have undergone change initiatives large and small serve to teach us about what works and what doesn’t work when trying to introduce and implement change. Though varying sources stress competing factors as critical to the success or failure of these initiatives, certain underlying themes are common among theories. In this case, we examine the “don’ts” of implementing change in an organization. Outlined below are the five most common mistakes made by organizations when introducing a change implementation program and tips for how to avoid these pitfalls.

1. Not Building a Task Force

One of the biggest mistakes senior management makes when introducing change is to assume that key management will back the proposed effort. Not developing a team dedicated to the introduction and implementation of change puts more pressure on the key drivers. Moving too fast without winning over adequate support from the organization’s leadership may cause conflict and confusion down the road. Top leaders must recruit and work with a team strategically formed to introduce and implement change. This team must be made up of influential leaders. The members should be individuals who are known for exhibiting strong relationship management skills as well as task management skills. The chosen task force will be crucial in encouraging adoption of change by staff members at all levels. Even after forming a designated task force and ensuring lower level management is on board, change leaders must remain personally involved and committed to the effort. It is important to remain enthusiastic and positive about the organization’s goals and aligning one’s thoughts and actions to support the transformation process to the end.

2. Assuming Responses to Change Will be Unanimous

If you have been reading about change management, you have undoubtedly come across the notion that staff members are likely to approach change with fear and resistance. These are common themes in a litany of challenges organizations facing change must strive to overcome. Even so, you mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone feels the exact same way. It is a common mistake to assume that everyone within an organization will be on the same page (on one end of the spectrum or the other) when it comes to change. Even fear and resistance, which are common in transformation scenarios, exhibit themselves to varying degrees in individuals.

Since individuals adopt change at different rates, evaluate who your early adopters (those likely to accept and embrace new concepts, technologies, etc.) are and leverage them in your strategy to execute change, while patiently nurturing those who are slower to accept change. Consider inducting some early adopters into your change coalition and enlist their help in influencing others and encouraging them to open up to new ideas and ways of doing things.

3. Not Providing Enough Face Time

This mistake relates to changing employees behaviors versus shifting their attitude or improving their knowledge. The ultimate goal is to change the actions of employees. Improving knowledge or attitudes is chiefly a means to that end. As the cliché says, “actions speak louder than words.” Behaviour is impacted by one-on-one communication and counseling. Group training sessions, mass communications and computer-based information transmissions are excellent ways of improving knowledge, but not such excellent ways of changing actions and behaviours.

One of the key mistakes made by organizations when implementing change is assuming that disseminating knowledge alone is adequate in executing change. By focusing solely on communicating new ideas within the organization en masse, leaders are neglecting the type of communication that effectively shifts behaviour patterns. Honest, open, interpersonal dialogues are more effective in changing behaviour. This is where your organization’s change task force can make a big impact. Though these types of communication require greater effort, they are more effective in affecting change.

4. Not Sticking to the Vision

Once the decision to change has been made, the change coalition recruited, and the need for change communicated, you may feel that you’re on your way to a successful transformation. A common mistake made by organizations when implementing change is not defining, communicating, and sticking to a clear vision for what direction the necessary change must take. Even when a clear vision is defined and communicated in the early stages of change, often times leaders get sidetracked and fail to integrate and align all initiatives to be consistent with said vision. Management and staff at all levels must continuously analyze whether projects and activities are consistent with the overarching goals of the organization.

5. Failing to Plan Small Successive Successes

An important part of sticking to the vision is to create opportunities to achieve smaller goals along the way. These small successes will not only work directly toward achieving the desired change, but will create positive feelings of accomplishment and the drive to pursue the next goal. Overlooking the value of setting small, attainable stepping-stone goals makes organizations miss opportunities to motivate staff and make change enjoyable and rewarding. Not defining clear milestones toward the desired change can make the end result seem far off and unattainable.

If you’re in the beginning stages of the change process, you’ll be well prepared to avoid the mistakes that others have made. If your organization has already been on the road to transformation for a while, you may or may not have experienced these issues firsthand. No matter which stage of the change process your organization is in, it is never too late to consider the dangerous pitfalls that may sabotage your efforts.

5 Factors to Consider When Implementing Change

Change is constant in life, yet it can still cause apprehension, friction, and negative emotions to rear their ugly heads. When something changes in the workplace, it can elicit these same feelings in employees and lead to the experience of stress. Resilience is the ability to handle stress and deal with change effectively, which can be developed through resilience training as well as courses in change management.

Change management courses can help employees deal with change in a more effective way, decreasing the amount of stress experienced when changes are implemented in the workplace. However, even with change management training, Melbourne business owners should be aware of these 5 factors that can impact the response your employees have to change.

Control

Your employees take pride in the control they have over their tasks and operations in the workplace. Changes that can be perceived as negative by employees include diminishing the amount of control they have, such as hiring a supervisor that micro-manages them constantly. The more control an employee feels they have, the more challenges they will be able to handle without excessive stress.

Predictability

Simply knowing what is to come next can decrease stress and allow employees to take changes in stride. This is known as ‘perceived control’ and can be a much more effective way of implementing change. By letting your employees know what is going to happen, they can feel more in control than they would if they remain unaware of what changes are taking place.

Understanding

Making changes without explaining the reason behind the change can negatively impact employees and alter their response. Explaining why the change is occurring allows professionals to make sense of the situation and therefore understand it better – another example of perceived control. With no explanation, employees can feel helpless and experience anxiety or stress.

Time Frame

Sudden changes may seem like a good idea at first, but they can have a lot of drawbacks when it comes to the response to these changes that employees have. The time frame between announcing a change and implementing the change is crucial, as employees should have adequate time to prepare for the change to come in order to avoid increasing the stress they experience.

Relationships

The relationship that employees have with co-workers and supervisors also plays a role in enforcing change in the workplace. Employees that feel as though they are heard, respected, and valued are more comfortable asking for information and voicing any concerns they have about the company. Having a good relationship with supervisors as well as other employees reduces stress and fosters resilience.

With these factors in mind, you can make changes that are seen in a more positive light by employees and decrease the stress that employees may experience. Change management courses can also improve response to changes, leading to a better work environment and increased focus when completing tasks. Change management training for Melbourne businesses enhances employees’ resilience and increases satisfaction in their workplace.