Charles Darwin once said, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” In the 21st century, with constantly evolving technology and ever present social media, competition for the same resources has dramatically increased. Firms must adapt to their new environments or risk extinction. Change management, the approach used to prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change and thus drive organizational success, is vital to a firm’s continued existence.
Reasons for Change
So, in today’s environment, what are some reasons firms must change? Well, there are many different reasons change is necessary. It could be to improve productivity or the quality of products to meet customer demands. Perhaps change is necessary to reduce costs or increase revenue to keep up with the competition? Maybe revised processes are required due to the enactment of new policies or laws? Regardless of the reason, change is necessary and is a constant.
Overcome the Challenge of Change
Of course, often hearing the word “change” strikes fear in the hearts of many as an employee. It is inevitable that the rumor mills will begin and embellished stories will be passed around the firm. The best way to thwart the challenge of change is for leadership to be proactive using a change management strategy. Change management includes several key components:
- Clear vision from management
- A detailed action plan
- Transparency to minimize uncertainty
- Employee involvement
- Skills and resources provided for employees to handle the change
- Buy-in from employees
As long as these components are part of your firm’s change management plan, it is up your particular firm’s discretion to choose the method to handle the specific change required. If needed, there are several models available for review by firm leadership.
Change Management Models
Here are three change management models:
- The Eight Steps to Successful Change by John Kotter - begins by establishing a sense of urgency and ends with institutionalizing the change
- The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle by W. Edwards Deming - four steps
- Change Management Foundation - shaped like a pyramid with leadership at the top setting direction and people implementing change at the bottom
Don’t Fear the Change
In the words of Winston Churchill, “to improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.” Firms will spend years in pursuit of perfection as the world continues to evolve. However, with a change management strategy in place, your firm can continue to successfully tackle the unknown without fear.