Have you ever had to implement some kind of company change? Have you ever been an employee at an organisation going through a merger or a massive change in policy? Change management can impact many individuals in an organisation, from top level management through to the bottom line. The challenge is to ensure everyone is happy with the change and support it.
Change management is basically the structured approach to ensure that all individuals, teams and organisations are supported during times of major change. The outcome of any change management process is to ensure any company changes run smoothly and the benefits of the change have a lasting effect. There are many broad processes and methodologies used by organisations to achieve change successfully. Often Business Consultants are brought in to help with the transformation and to put tools, checklists and plans to help successfully manage the change. Arguably the most important part is ensuring all people, from management to the bottom line, are happy with the change and support it.
Regardless of the type of change, in order to succeed there needs to be an understanding of the people side of the change management to encourage the desired results. Any significant change can create “people issues.” Jobs may change, new leaders will be appointed, new skills and capabilities will need to be developed. This can cause employees to be uncertain and resistant, which can put speed of change, morale and results at risk. Change is only successful if employees who are responsible for designing, executing, and working in the new environment are accepting of the transformation.
One critical element to this systematic approach to change is understanding how the individuals involved respond to any transformation. Understanding how the employee population will react, either positively or negatively, to the change process can help to predict the potential success or failure of change initiatives. We can anticipate the barriers and put in place systems to overcome the hurdles during the transformation. This demands as much data collection and analysis as possible. A psychometric test or personality assessment, such as a DISC based tool, will help identify how an individual will deal with the change and how the company can best support each individual to help them accept the change. For example:
- Dominant Behavioural types have a positive view on change. D styles are generally quite competitive and therefore believe change helps to keep them on the edge of innovation. D styles will want to be part of the transformation will work hard to create results and fast! D styles willingly accept the change.
- Intuitive styles find change exciting! They also like to be recognised for their part in the transformation. Highly visible rewards, such as promotion, recognition, and bonuses, should be provided as dramatic reinforcement for embracing change. I styles want to understand how others feel about the change in order to motivate them. I styles will help the S and C styles come to term with the changes.
- The Steady types generally do not want to make big changes, especially when there are systems in place that are already working well for them. S Styles often look to the past to work out how to deal with change. S styles will need extra support to come to terms with and accept company changes. Speaking to the individual and asking them how they feel will help them come to terms with the transformation in the most comfortable way.
- The Conscientious styles are generally the slowest to accept any changes. C styles want to know why things are changing. Individuals need to know how their work will change, what is expected of them during and after the change program, how they will be measured, and what success or failure will mean for them and those around them. C styles like to know all the details and facts to help them understand and cope with change. Identifying any C styles in your team or organisation is crucial to ensuring all members come to accept with the change.
Change is both an organisational and team journey as well as a very personal one. Employees spend many hours each week at work; many think of their colleagues as a second family. Team leaders should be as honest and explicit as possible to help employees through the change process. Mastering the “soft” side of change management does not need to be overwhelming. Psychometric assessments help you understand exactly what support your clients need to everyone is happy and accept the change.