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Change Management Tackling Organizational Change as a Leader

Thre people working at a board room table by a window with sun streaming in, focus is on woman in the foreground

Change management is a systematic approach to prepare, support, and adapt to transitions of organizational process, technologies, or goals. While change management has always been a part of the business life cycle, since 2020 almost all businesses went through a complete overhaul to adapt and survive the pandemic.

Change can be difficult, especially if it does not happen often or happens suddenly. While change management helps create smooth transitions and offers support to employees, it can still be incredibly overwhelming on all levels. There are several steps needed to help begin implementing change management:

1. Prepare for change, clearly define your objectives, and develop a strong strategy

2. Prepare management and offer management support

3. Communicate your objectives with entire team

4. Implement training for new technologies or processes

5. Get rid of roadblocks

  • Remove dated processes, technologies, and systems
  • Do responsibilities and duties need to be reassigned?

6. Offer organization-wide support and celebrate early successes

7. Keep track of progress and improve consistently

Graphic with Peter F. Gallagher quote on it about change management

Examples of Different Types Of Organizational Change

When implementing a change management strategy its key to pinpoint exactly what aspects of the organization would be directly affected. While some changes are predictable and easily implemented other changes can come about due to unforeseen circumstances. While there are several types of organizational changes, let’s highlight four common ones.

Adaptive Changes

Adaptive changes are smaller adjustments that organizations use to help meet daily, weekly, and monthly business objectives. Typically, these changes include fine-tuning existing processes, products, and strategies to help the organization adapt and stay successful. These types of changes could include new payment options, new intake forms, adding to an existing website, testing new products to meet customer demands, upgrading software, updating systems, and hiring new staff.

Transformational Change

Opposite of adaptive changes is transformational change which refers to changes that affect a business structure, strategy, culture, or processes as whole. Transformational change can be described as sudden and dramatic and typically address an unexpected challenge an organization is facing. This type of change includes rethinking vendor processes, rebuilding a website from scratch, retiring existing products, converting to major software, launching a new department, reforming teams, or converting a physical location to an online business.

Unplanned Change

Unplanned change is what most organizations faced when COVID first hit the United States. These changes are necessary in adapting to uncontrolled events such as natural disasters, security breaches, legal changes, or unexpected personnel changes. Unplanned change can be chaotic and without proper preparation and strategies, organizations can face incredible loss.

Planned Change

On the other hand, planned change is developmental change that has the objective of improving present operations, systems, and technologies to meet organization-wide goals. Planned change is calculated and is implemented consciously. Examples of planned change are changes in the incentive system, introduction of new products, and introducing new technologies.

Dealing with Change as a Leader

Typically, leaders and management staff are the first to learn about changes that are about to hit the business. How a business prepares and adapts to change relies a lot on what leadership does when it comes time to implement said changes. While changes in a business can be unpredictable, there are plenty of ways leadership can take and handle change head on.

Two business men walking on a deck talking, one is holding a document

Being prepared is the first step leaders can take when dealing with organizational change. Sometimes change is unanticipated, but there are plenty of times when change is planned. Creating proper procedures and correlating strategies is the base to maintaining a smooth transition regardless of what organizational change is occurring.

Inspiring and maintaining open communication with all staff in an organization is another way to help effectively manage change. Not only is it necessary to communicate so no employee is blind-sided by it, but communication can open opportunities for your team to spot areas of improvement or provide valuable input. Open communication also allows leadership to address concerns, avoid overloading tasks on teams and instills confidence in your entire staff while moving forward with organizational change.

Leaders can also face change by simply committing to it. Successful leaders make sure their behaviors support the change, are persistent, resilient regardless of the situation and are more willing to step out of their comfort zone to embrace the changes given. Leaders play a huge role in how change will affect the company, leaders who fail to communicate, adapt, and show impatience rarely meet their desired results.

While change can be intimidating, it is not impossible to navigate. Whether planned or unplanned, change happens, and leaders can pave the way for either smooth adjustments or bumpy waters based on how they handle it. Preparedness, communication, and commitment are core reasons why leaders can easily succeed in implementing organizational change with minimal headache. While it may seem chaotic, change is necessary and should be anticipated, embraced, and controlled.