The rate of change in our lives continues to increase. Not only does rapid change surround us, but that same change puts increased demands on us. Change is occurring in our personal lives and our business lives. Think for a second: How many things or patterns in your life right now are changing? We see it and feel it and are dramatically affected by it.
Today’s office has been transformed, too, from a built environment to an open environment. It’s not your father’s office any longer. Where we work, how we work and when we work—all that has changed. The words collaboration, huddle, and focus areas are all new concepts that assist in activating the culture of an organization and making operations more transparent.
These all constitute change in the workplace, but they don’t come easy. Let’s face it, human beings are creatures of habit, often slow to change, and resistant to new ways of doing things. And as they say, the older you get the more resistant you are to change.
Yet statistics prove the organizations and their people who adapt to change quickly have a competitive advantage. Those who do not, fall behind. And, who’s not looking for competitive advantage today?
Thus enters change management, the process of transitioning individuals and organizations to a desired outcome. Change management involves planning and implementation and perhaps most critical, the involvement of people affected by the changes. Organizations are turning more to structured programs of change management to achieve change in a much more palatable way.
I think we can all recall a time when management attempted to sell staff members on certain changes. Selling change simply doesn’t work, and whenever management attempts to impose change on staff, there will be problems.
Individuals will benefit by being privy to why the change is needed, being part of how the change will be managed, and being involved in the planning for implementation of change. Active participation, freedom of expression empowering action, and abundant communication are the keys to effective change management.
Change management is the tool that will allow those undergoing change to see the glass half full rather than half empty. It will pave the way for change to be effectively understood and calm the fears associated with change. Because change can transform a business, a change management program can truly make change work for you.
Jo Staffelbach Heinz is President and CEO of Dallas-based Staffelbach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.