With coronavirus taking over our lives, businesses, and routines, many companies have been forced to change large and prominent segments of their organizations to something more suited to the times. Even without a global pandemic, change is inevitable. Companies must go through change regularly whether it is updating technology, renewing company culture, changing strategies or policies, or upgrading infrastructure. But, right now companies are being forced to change and alter their processes and policies to be able to better manage the current global situation. This calls on the implementation of some unexpected changes that might be tasked to employees who aren’t familiar with a change initiative since one of the changes is the limited staff. Source: Gartner.com And, although change management is a critical skill for any organization, as much as 50% of the initiative to incorporate change turn out to be unsuccessful. How to lead your company through a change initiative? Here are a few ways to help tip those scales. Understand why change is required Before starting anything, you as the change manager must understand the requirement for said change, whether culture, strategy, location, or policy. Which means you need to fully understand the current situation at your company and be well-acquainted with all the members involved. Only after this will you be able to make the right changes and adequately carry out the change initiative. You can also study previous change initiatives and exercises to better gauge the response to change at your company. Plan the details This is the most crucial step. It is very easy for a plan to start unraveling and no amount of fixing will ease a transition if the plan to implement the change is mismanaged and not well thought through. All the components of the plan need to be in place before the change takes place. Strategizing the plan of action, noting down the desired goals and how exactly they need to be achieved, considering who will be affected and how they will need to manage the gap in productivity, or preparing for who will benefit and understanding whether they will be able to manage the increased inflow, keeping track of the long-term and short-term considerations, and so much more. The plan should also cover unexpected barriers, shortcomings, and outcomes so that in case anything goes awry, the plan has already taken it into consideration and the project can deal with it swiftly and move forward. Prep the company And before moving further and implementing the plan the company, whether infrastructure or people, need to be prepared for the change. This means that not only does the infrastructure required need to be in place, but so do the people and the policies. To fully integrate any change, the company needs to be prepared. Team heads need to explain the requirement of the change before explaining what the change is and how employees need to work towards incorporating it. Prepping the team is important to avoid unnecessary doubt, confusion, and resistance from the team which could lead to negativity between members and against the management. In some circumstances, incorporating the team in all the decisions leading up to the decision for change can help. But this is not always possible. Implement and instill Finally, the plan must be put into action. Those in charge of the implementation need to be consistent in their instruction and actions. Making sure they themselves are following the new conditions put in place, while also keeping an eye out for team members. If the new rules are not rightly instilled in the beginning and are being taken lightly, it is more than likely the changes will never be incorporated well and there will always be some resistance. But while you are enforcing the new changes, also be open to listening for suggestions or inconveniences from your team. All this will require refined communication skills. Analyze Just implementing the changes is not nearly enough. It is important for the change manager to analyze components of the transition to make sure they are doing what they are meant to do. Granted, the initial phase will not give the desired results, but over time there should be significant change and the exercise should prove to meet all the goals set. Being a change manager is never an easy job. But it is one that requires a lot of skill, such as communicative, managerial, and organizational, and will give you immense satisfaction once the job is done. FAQs Q. What is the most important step before beginning a change initiative? A. Understanding why that change is needed to begin with. Q. Why is it important to prep the team before directly implementing a change initiative? A. Not preparing the team beforehand could lead to misunderstandings, doubt, confusion, and resistance.