Implementing change management into business
The era of rapid globalization and technological development has resulted in constantly changing business environment. The internet and social media have revolutionized the way businesses are managing their operations. Many companies are now expanding their business operations in different geographical regions. For achieving this global expansion, they are in need of implementing various organizational as well as functional changes and therefore they require effective change management.
With the increasing change in the business environment in terms of technology, change in consumer behavior, legal and political change, economic pressures; organizations are also required to adapt themselves to these changes in order to sustain and achieve success. Internal factors can also lead to changes such as change in client needs and specifications, employees’ performance related issues, change in management and leadership style, etc. Hence it is said that Change is inevitable, like it or not, every organization whether small or large, must change so as to survive in the market. However, all the changes, whether external or internal, involve implementing varied new strategies, policies, management practices. With the view to adapt with changes and to maintain smooth flow of business operations, it is vital for organizations to implement change management strategies and processes effectively.
Change management can be defined as a comprehensive and systematic approach to make the organization as well as its human resources capable to adapt with change in the desired way. There are various theories and models regarding change management; some of them include Kurt Lewin’s three-phase model of change-unfreeze, change and refreeze; McKinsey’s 7-S model, John Kotter’s 8 step change model and many more. John Kotter’s model includes 8 steps of change, namely Creating sense of urgency, Forming a guiding Coalition, Creating a vision for change, Communicating the vision, Removing barriers, Achieving short-term aims, Building on change and finally Anchoring the changes in corporate culture. According to this model, people accept change when they are well influenced by the leader. As a result, it is crucial to motivate an employee to buy into change and take it in a constructive way.
Change is foreseeable, no organization can neglect it. An enterprise not adapting with change is not able to survive in the market for a long period. For rapid growth and development of business, it is essential for organization to change. Continuous improvement in business operations, keeping pace with technological innovation, modification of business policies and strategies in accordance with business environment are the types of changes that organization needs to make. It is not just a process of adjustment, but it demands an adequate organizational capabilities such effective communication at all levels of management, appropriate leadership style that can guide employees’ behavior in a desired manner and make them able to accept organization change in a positive way, planned and structured approach to attain change as well as sufficient financial and non-financial organizational capabilities. During the entire change process, it is crucial for organization to influence human behavior effectively as acceptance of change by employees is key to success of organizational change. The studies have shown that employees’ resistance to change is higher when they misunderstand the change and consider it to have negative implication on their job. This in turn leads to conflicting situations and thereby create barrier in effective execution of change management. The underlying principle is that if employees understand the positive impacts of change on them and are well-informed about every initiatives taken to implement change, they are more likely to accept change and ensure its successful implementation. In addition to this, every stakeholder need to be aware of the change and must understand the reasons behind the certain change and its implications. They must also be given equal opportunity to express their opinion and contribute their ideas as well as suggestions about how change can be effectively implemented and what initiatives should be taken to address the obstacles in achieving the intended objectives. Employee participation in change process will lead not only to the generation of creative and innovative ideas, but will also motivate them to work for change. This further will improve their work performance and hence will aid organization in achieving goals and objectives efficiently.
However, many companies fail to change because of different reasons which include lacking sufficient capabilities to change, lack of structured plan, expecting fast solution to problems, ineffective change management, more emphasis on activities of change rather than result, and imbalance between change plan and its implementation. In order to accomplish successful organizational change, all these problems have to be addressed properly. There are certain factors that ensure successful implementation of change in business; these factors include planning and documenting the objectives to be accomplished by change and ways to accomplish it; establishing proper organizational structures and clarifying roles and responsibilities of each employee for change; strategic leadership to influence organizational behavior in desired manner; involving every stakeholder and motivating them to participate in the process of change by adopting open and transparent communication approach; identifying the impact of change on employee performance and developing plan to align them to help changing the organization. All these factors are critical in achieving the successful change and directing the organization towards the path of growth and success.
It can be concluded that in today’s highly dynamic and unpredictable business environment, with the rate of change constantly increasing, enterprises that effectively implement change initiatives survive more and gain competitive edge over rivals. Aligning with technological and other business environment changes is not enough. Effective organizational change also includes ensuring the human resource capability to work competently in new change work culture. Any kind of resistance or denial to change from their side will impede organization to adapt to change effectively and hence will lead to failure. Therefore, employees need to be well-informed about change and what impact it will have on their work. This will aid in handling their denial and will prepare them to accept change in a positive way. Additionally, open and constructive communication, participative management and leadership style, commitment from employees are also of paramount importance in achieving change.