Change Management: A Business Challenge That Can Be Overcome Through Open Communication

Every organization goes through change. Every individual goes through change. Some manage change more effectively than others. Why? I think there are a couple of reasons. Those who are most effective at managing change–whether individuals or organizations–recognize:

  • That change is a given–something that occurs naturally over time on an ongoing basis.
  • That change brings both risks and rewards and while neither can be entirely controlled, both can effectively be managed.
  • That anticipating and “getting in front of” a change can be the best way to boost your odds of managing it effectively.
  • That involving all others who will be impacted by the change, seeking and listening to their input and engaging them in the change process will boost your odds of success and acceptance.

Why do so many change initiatives fail, stall or create dissension and frustration among those impacted? Because they are not involved. Because they do not know what is going on. And, most importantly, because they do not clearly understand how the changeĀ will impact them.

I’ve worked with a number of companies on change management initiatives; some have been more successful than others. One organization I’m working with now is doing what I think is an exceptional job of managing a major change that will impact employees’ from a work process standpoint. What they are doing most effectively, I believe, is:

  • Being entirely transparent in the process.
  • Recognizing that employees will have concerns about personal impacts and providing them with avenues to express those concerns.
  • Committing to being responsive and transparent with information when it is available.
  • Admitting that they will not always immediately have answers, but that they will share information when it is available.
  • Taking steps to address the social needs of staff members through a variety of activities designed to generate involvement, socialization and FUN!

It remains to be seen, ultimately, how successful this change initiative will be. At this point, though, I’m fairly confident that it will be a success. Why? Because of open, two-way communication. Such a simple concept really, yet so complex in its executive.

What experiences have you had with change initiatives? When have they worked? When have they failed?

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