Not sure where to start? One of the goals with any change effort is to move from the past toward a new future.
But the future can be a paradox. If you could define your company’s future clearly, the change process would be easier. But a detailed definition closes off unanticipated opportunities. It also may not leave room for any unpredictable changes your company could encounter throughout the change process.
These 3 tips will help you transition toward the future while also preparing you for potential obstacles and challenges that may arise along the way:
- Discuss the critical change element: Making a commitment to thinking about the future is crucial. Developing a vision/mission statement and the picture representing it is important. Change management starts with a strong management commitment to the future and a high tolerance for ambiguity in the middle of change.
- Understand the change elements in the real world: The team needs to understand the change process in order to be successful. Companies should not embark on a major change without knowing where they are going. Maybe the future is where you should start. An organization must be a place that values planning, clearly defines the expectations of processes and its people, tracks results, and rewards people for achieving those results.
- Know the tools of change: A methodology of any kind requires tools for implementation. As the future becomes clarified, people throughout the cascade of the organization need to constantly question what the picture of the future looks like.
That future takes shape from four key perspectives: process, structure, people and culture. While the final shape of the future keeps adjusting, the company needs to ask two key questions over and over again:
- What will the company look like in the future?
- How will multiple changes complement or conflict with one another?
Using the answers to these questions as a foundation, change agents can build a picture of the future.
If your company is going to survive and succeed, the ability to implement change successfully must become a critical part of your job description, no matter what your job function. The most successful organizations build that requirement into their job descriptions; they hire people with proven change agent track records. They build change agent accountability into their performance review systems, and they train people to be change agents. Change agents let people question the future while also showing them what it will look like. When they speak or make decisions, they consistently reinforce the future desired state.