“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
Charles Darwin may have been talking about finches and tortoises, but he could have also been referring to business. Companies are harnessing innovation and disrupting the market at an unprecedented rate. Businesses know they must embrace change, and embrace change quickly! The problem is that many organizations have an aversion to change or are confused about how to go about it. Worse, many underestimate the true business impact associated with a proper change management plan.
Why is that?
Well, up until now, organizations have traditionally approached business operational changes from the perspective of “doing.” Once they establish what they are going to “do” differently, they then take it to the next level by starting to standardize and develop SOPs (standard operating procedures). Some organizations go even further by moving into optimization. Optimization is where they assess and improve SOPs based on data and business insights over time.
While initially the model appears logical and straight forward, it commonly fails because it doesn’t account for three main phases of any successful change management plan:
1) Prepare for Change
The traditional process fails to communicate “why” the change is taking place. This is important! It’s equally important to address “how” this will affect daily operations with a timeframe for assessing impact. Defining your change management strategy before springing it on your users cannot be underestimated. Having everyone on the same page will help prepare your users, increase buy-in, and reduce the likelihood of resistance down the line.
2) Manage Change
Traditional change management can often lack the support and buy-in that is crucial to its success. You can manage this by ensuring that stakeholders are part of the solution – whether it’s helping develop the plans, preparing their teams for change, or taking part in the actual implementation. This goes a long way in driving adoption and building a successful implementation plan. Again, communication is key in managing this process.
3) Support Change
Finally, the traditional process doesn’t have the long-term planning and reinforcement efforts to increase the likelihood of driving behavioral change. To be successful, you must reinforce and measure change over time. This allows for greater adoption while modeling that the initiative is something that merits time and is therefore important.
Making a concerted effort to drive organizational effectiveness by leveraging change management strategies ensures that you are maximizing your ROI.
We have all heard the phrase, “Look before you leap” or “Measure twice, cut once.” If your organization doesn’t have a change management strategy as part of an organization-wide initiative, it’s like cutting a piece of wood without measuring. Once you cut it, there is no going back. So, it’s important to be strategic about how you approach change initiatives. Think of the change management process as the second measurement that will help your business realize the most value of your investments.
If you’d like to learn more about change management best practices, or are interested in leveraging BDO Digital's OCM team to ensure that you have the right strategy in place to maximize your technology investments, contact us. With every new solution, there exists a change management strategy that can help ensure that you maximize ROI and minimizing the pain.
And to end with another quote by Ben Franklin,
"When you're finished changing, you're finished."