No one likes organizational change, no one likes change period. Whether the change is needed to maintain organization health or it was necessary to stay competitive in the constantly evolving markets – change is necessary whether we like it or not. In reality the only constant in the marketplace is change.
5 Steps to Be Successful Through Organizational Change:
Leadership requires coping with change, especially when the organization is facing potential adaptive challenges. As markets evolve and new technologies emerge, companies require leadership that can foresee the need to adapt and continually be auditing existing processes and organizational structures. Those companies that understand this continue to grow in value. If you don’t, you can become stagnant and sometimes fail. It depends on the maturity of the leadership in the organization and their ability to bring team members at all levels together in efforts to evolve.
Here are 5 key steps for leading an organization that faces organizational changes:
One of the most important responsibilities a leader has is providing direction for the team. This seems obvious but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes leaders think they are providing clear direction for the team, but this can sometimes be more of an assumption than reality. I like the phrase of over-communicating. Communication and repetition is critical to ensure that all team members know the plan and what their specific roles are for contributing to mission success.
Organizational changes within a company can be scary for the team especially if they are unclear why the changes are being made. All good companies have to adapt as they grow. It’s a great problem to have, but it is the responsibility of the leadership to help the team understand that the change is a positive necessity. It’s also important for the leadership to connect any positive changes to the vision and mission of the organization. Protecting the team from external threats and maintaining a confident attitude will help the team stay focused on their responsibilities instead of updating their resumes.
Change requires auditing of existing systems, roles, and responsibilities. This process can often result in essentially rebuilding the entire company by redefining job descriptions, consolidation, elimination of overlap, and creating greater efficiencies. All of these activities will mean running a better more profitable business, it’s important that people know where they stand while this process is happening clarification is key to creating workplace efficiency.
Positive conflict is not only healthy, it’s imperative. Passive aggressive behavior or simply avoiding conflict only results in toxicity and things not getting done. Address conflicts as they arrive. I’m one that believes if conflict isn’t addressed you can stall a growing organization. However knowing which is a conflict to address and which is just a person venting is very important. My rule of thumb is if the conflict isn’t going to matter a year from now, you may be best serve to just let it naturally die out. My caveat to this is sometimes little things do need to be addressed so everyone is on the same page in an emotionally healthy manner.
Shape the Norms
As a company experiences change, there will be many things that it should stop doing, and many things it should keep doing. Leaders need to ensure that certain norms are maintained in order to keep the company moving in the direction dictated by the overall vision. These norms can be anything from certain ways the company does business to culture protecting activities that support the value system.
Times of change are times of opportunity…
Great leaders that guide a company through necessary changes don’t do it all by themselves. They bring all team members together and leverage their talent pool in a collaborative manner. We can successfully navigate the winds of change only when we take control of our reactions to the emotional roller coaster caused by negative and positive change.