If you manage a business unit or group, there are certain steps you can take to help your organization become change-ready:
Encourage participative work within your unit.
Develop more participative approaches to how everyday business is handled. Specifically:
Push decision making down to lowest levels possible. Allowing others to make informed decisions, rather than imposing your own, increases the group’s perception of their own effectiveness—and yours.
Share information freely. Information is the lifeblood of any organization. During times of change, getting and disseminating information is critical to operating effectively, flexibly, and quickly.
Make communication a two-way process—talk but also listen, especially to people who are resistant to change.
Get into the trenches with frontline employees to better understand the day-to-day issues that they face.
Give people practice in collaborative work between functions by tackling problems and assigning projects through cross-functional teams.
Help people see the “why” of change.
Give your employees a voice.
Employees who can freely express their ideas will feel more empowered to act. Encourage people to openly discuss their thoughts and feelings about the change program. Work to understand resistance by exploring their concerns and by taking their feelings seriously. When people believe their voice counts, they are more apt to mobilize for change.
Drive fear out of your group.
An organizational culture dominated by fear is incapable of serious change. Fear encourages everyone to avoid risks, become internally focused, and stop communicating. In addition, fear costs organizations real money in the form of increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and diminished quality of products and services.
While managers should aim to reduce fear, they should not deny the challenging aspects of the change itself—nor should they minimize the intensity of employees’ reactions to it. Managers should openly acknowledge employees’ concerns and work with them to support and embrace the change initiative.
Once an organization is primed for transition, a change initiative can be rolled out. Please