There is no doubt that digital transformation raises the bar for change management demands. Organizations are required to keep up with the pace of business and deliver change and innovation continuously, so that they can support their customer demands and keep up their competitive edge.
As a change leader, your responsibility is to enable and promote change in your organization and make sure change is implemented successfully. To do so, it is important to understand the top reasons people resist change and to be prepared to manage change resistance in a proactive manner.
As a change leader it is your role to make sure your team perceives the change ahead as more positive than negative.
#1 – The Fear of the Unknow
The number one reason for organizations to push back change or fall behind on their change strategy is the fear of the unknown. Not knowing the impact of a certain change is what causes people to prefer the current status over anything new. People will always be concerned with how this change will impact the current status quo. How will it affect day to day activities? How much time and effort will I have to invest in it? Will I be able to keep up and deliver my current commitments?
If the perceived risk of change is higher than the perceived value of change your company will face stagnation.
As a change leader it is your role to make sure your team perceives the change ahead as more positive than negative. One way to do this is by providing visibility and clarity into the impact of this change, ahead of time. The more certainty you create, the faster they will get engaged and on board.
Use solutions that enable automatic prediction of the impact and gain full visibility into the project time and effort before it even begins.
Being able to see what’s ahead helps the change team to drive change faster and with more confidence.
#2 – The Battle of Time
Every change project in today’s fast-paced digital era comes with a price tag of the number one resource that everyone in the world is lacking – time! Doing something for the first time, you can always expect surprises that will affect your timeline.
We have seen change projects get delayed, or even halted mid-project as managers did not estimate time of developers correctly or with testers not completing their testing in the time window they were allocated.
When leading change, you must ensure the project is managed with a tight workflow and that the team has the right tools and reports that enable them to work in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Change needs to be planned carefully. Find ways to consolidate work, eliminate duplicated efforts and reduce manual efforts so that the team remains laser focused on what’s important.
Use technology and automated solutions to help you gain control over the testing team’s time, shorten their test cycles, automate and accelerate some of the tedious repetitive tasks and ensure you understand in real time where you are in the process and what else needs to be accomplished.
When people feel in control of their time they are more likely to be engaged and focused, ultimately driving change faster and with less resistance.
#3 – The Reason for Change
One of the top reasons for change resistance is misunderstanding the reason for change. The resistance here may have dual reasons, both from management and staff perspectives and will have different drivers behind the scenes. The key here is to get clear on the value of change and communicate it effectively.
Management needs to have a rock solid business case presented to them so that you get their buy-in before you begin to make changes. When you communicate the change to management, focus on their motives. Consider time to market, cost reduction, risk mitigation but also the value to the business, the customer experience, competitive edge and innovation which are becoming a key focus for enterprise management in the last couple of years.
When it comes to the team, their main resistance comes from getting “attached” to the way things are done today. “We have been doing it for the past 20 years and it works!” There is also an underlying fear that most are not aware of, which is competence. “Do I have the necessary skills this change will impose? Will I be able to make this transition?”
When communicating change to the team it is important to start by openly discussing why the change is needed and why they must improve the way they have been doing things for the past 20 years. At the same time – empower and articulate the expectations for the future and how you see them contributing after the change is completed.
For example, if this change has to do with automating manual efforts, communicate how they will be leveraging their freed up time after the change, whether to focus more on business innovation, lead a new project, or find new ways for improvement. Make sure your motives are clear and leave minimum room for doubt and speculations.
The more people feel confident and understand how this change is of value to them, the more they will help you promote change and take ownership of its adoption within the company.
Ready to make your 2017 a year of change?