A change management process consists of several steps required to steer a team or organization from an existing state to a new preferred state. For example, if you are introducing new technology, restructuring the organization, or rebranding your business, you will most likely need a change management process.
Effective change management is more than project management and technical tasks initiated to establish organizational changes. It also includes supporting and directing an organization’s “human side” towards significant change. The main goal of change management is to implement new processes, products, and business strategies successfully while minimizing adverse outcomes.
There is so much misinformation and assumptions regarding how to orchestrate change successfully that we have assembled a list of myths surrounding change management.
MYTH 1: Employees Are Resistant to Change
This is a popular excuse for delaying the rollout of new projects. However, it’s not entirely accurate. People don’t naturally resist change. Fear and uncertainty are the root causes of user resistance. Guiding people through transition, ensuring they understand what it means for them and their future, bringing the positive benefits to life and providing the job security angle is a better strategy to deal with resistance sustainably.
MYTH 2: Our Organization Is Lean and Agile; We Don’t Need Change Management
We’ve seen a slow but intriguing shift in the market where organizations started investing in Lean and Agile coaches to lead initiatives. They did this believing that it may not be worth the money to invest in a pure change management team. Instead, they believed that a communication plan would suffice. However, relying exclusively on the communication plan will not solve the problem. With this approach, your team will fail to truly understand how the upcoming change will affect everyone in the organization.
MYTH 3: Change Always Comes from The Top
An interesting concept because many years of initiatives have taught us that effective change is seldom top-down. Instead, it usually radiates from an organization’s centre and critical leaders. The unit leaders, below the corporate level, play the most significant part in implementing these changes successfully. They are the ones who best know the landscape and the winning strategies to make change happen.
We are not implying that CEOs and other C-suite leaders cannot or don’t make visionary changes; they most definitely can and do. However, when it comes to most change initiatives that companies deploy efficiently, a top-down effort is more often the exception than the rule. In our experience, we found that implementing a robust governance structure with key sponsors made the difference.
MYTH 4: Technology Will Fix the Problem
Technology can be valuable in many ways, but it can also be a barrier. It is often easy to lose sight of the people side of change by focusing too much on the technical and process-related changes. Technology is an enabler or catalyst for change, that is all. Although it may fix some of your process and service delivery issues, it’s the people (end users) who are the ones who need to adopt and adapt to a new way of doing things.
MYTH 5: Communicating the Changes Via Email Is Good Enough
A multiple-channel approach is a must when rolling out a significant change. Picking two or three channels/methods is necessary to ensure everyone is aware and on board. In this time of information overload, it’s easy to miss important announcements completely. Change leaders must work around this by choosing multiple communication methods. For example, hold a face-to-face meeting, create a video highlight to send to everyone or post announcements on staff bulletin boards or in break rooms. Put yourself in your employee’s shoes; if you’re drowning in emails, they probably are, too, so get creative and diversify your channels.
MYTH 6: A Job Well Done Is Praise Enough
When you are finally successful due to your team’s hard work and struggle to support your initiative, it is NOT okay to move on to the following change without acknowledging and celebrating their contribution. Without validation, an employee’s satisfaction in a job well done will only go so far, and they will burn out. Instead, find ways to celebrate milestones and accomplishments along the way. By acknowledging a change once completed and knowing that their contribution is noticed and appreciated, employees will maintain buy-in and energy and be committed to making a difference.
Consider change management as an asset and a competitive advantage worth having on your side. However, old myths die hard, and sometimes they become excuses for inaction. So, if you’re encountering a few of these myths about change management in your company, it may be time to challenge them in the interests of your collective success. It is the flexibility to cope with the specific needs in a changing environment that makes today’s managers successful change leaders.
At BHC, our experienced change management team can help you navigate the course when implementing any new business process in your organization. Don’t go it alone, contact us to discuss how we can work with you to ensure things run on time, on budget and hassle free.