Making change work: Limit resistance to get positive results

Making change work: Limit resistance to get positive results
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Change is a constant in organizations, yet it often meets resistance from leadership. Leaders face challenges such as unreturned phone calls, unfulfilled commitments, and the departure of valuable team members. However, organizations can navigate these obstacles by effectively managing change and driving success.

In this blog post, change management expert Mark Hordes explains the five critical elements of change management and provide insights on managing change in organizations to achieve desired outcomes.

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Five critical elements of change management

Managing change is the result of five elements that occur in an organization within functional areas at the individual, team and divisional level of relationship:

1. Control in change management: During times of change, it is crucial for employees to feel a sense of control over the process. Organizations can foster a positive environment that embraces change by empowering individuals and teams with a degree of autonomy. Providing clear guidelines and involving employees in decision-making helps them embrace the transformation with confidence and commitment.

2. Predictability as a change catalyst: Change can be unsettling if the timeline and critical milestones are unclear. Predictability plays a vital role in change management. Communicating a well-defined timeline and sharing information about significant events in advance allows individuals to prepare and adapt. With a clear roadmap, employees can align their plans, minimizing uncertainty and promoting a smoother transition.

3. Managing capacity and absorption levels: Organizations must consider their employees’ capacity and absorption levels when implementing change initiatives. People have limits to the amount of change they can effectively handle at once. Recognizing individual thresholds and avoiding overwhelming employees with too many simultaneous changes is crucial. Prioritizing change initiatives and ensuring that the pace of change aligns with individual capacity will lead to greater acceptance and smoother transitions.

4. Understanding the context of change: Change often arises from internal and external factors. Internal changes can affect departmental roles and responsibilities, transitioning individuals from singular job roles to multifaceted ones. Adapting to such changes requires a contextual understanding of the organization’s goals, market dynamics, and evolving industry trends. Organizations can prepare their employees for new roles and responsibilities by providing the necessary context and facilitating a successful change management process.

5. Strengthening resolve for effective change management: Individuals’ personal resolve is crucial in managing change effectively. Recognizing the emotional impact of change and providing training on change management fundamentals empowers employees to navigate personal and professional transitions with greater resilience. Organizations can overcome resistance and achieve successful change outcomes by building individuals’ resolve and equipping them with the necessary tools and support.

Overcoming performance drop-offs by learning transition phases

In most change efforts, a predictable drop-off in performance occurs. The response is a natural reaction to significant change. Change management aims to reduce the depth and duration of the performance gap. One can assume there is a steady state when we start a new project. As soon as the process begins, there is a performance drop, often due to employees waiting to discover the impacts of change on them. Those responsible for leading change can minimize the impact of change on performance by looking for opportunities to manage the pre-transition and post-implementation phases.

The objectives of each transition phase are:

  • Minimize A: Duration of performance drop-off during the transition phase.
  • Minimize B: Depth of performance drop-off during the transition phase.
  • Maximize C: Performance level after implementation.
  • Maximize D: Continuous improvement.

To set the stage for successful program management, pay considerable attention to planning and pre-implementation activities (in effect, minimizing A and B). Before the implementation, conduct a change impact analysis to minimize the depth and ensure a faster recovery from the drop in performance.

Best practices in change management

When working on extensive experience in significant transformation efforts, several best practices have emerged in change management.

1. Conduct an impact analysis to understand organizational and business process implications before developing a change plan.

2. Develop a comprehensive sponsor strategy outlining sponsors’ activities to drive change.

3. Foster ownership and involvement throughout the organization, ensuring widespread engagement and support.

4. Create an implementation strategy encompassing job redesign, training, documentation, communication, and ongoing support.

5. Establish a measurement plan using a balanced scorecard matrix to assess the effectiveness of change initiatives and drive continuous improvement.

Change is inevitable. What is your organization doing to adapt?

Remember, if you don’t manage change, change will manage you! Be a proactive catalyst for change, not a reactive casualty of it. Organizations can overcome resistance, minimize disruption, and drive success by effectively managing change. Embracing key elements such as control, predictability, capacity management, contextual understanding, and personal resolve empowers individuals and teams to navigate change confidently. By implementing best practices and focusing on continuous improvement, organizations can build change management capability and thrive in

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About the Author

mark hordes
Mark Hordes is the Vice President, Organizational Performance Improvement & Change Management Lead for the Americas with Molten-Group. He is the co-author of S-Business: Reinventing the Services Organization. Mark won the Houston Business Journal’s 2014 Award, “Who’s Who in Energy”. He is an alumnus of the American Graduate School of International Management, “Thunderbird.” He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and an MBA and MS in Organizational Behavior from Aurora University.
For more information, contact Mark Hordes at Mark Hordes’ LinkedIn ⇗ or visit Sia Partners ⇗.

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