Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Philip Cox-Hynd (UK).
What with Britain’s looming fall out with Europe and the USA’s current fall out with the rest of the world, this year has been a very tumultuous time for business. On top of the general current of business of Britain’s shores being stronger and choppier than ever, there is the uncertainty caused by the unsustainable printing of money within our shores – euphemistically called quantitative easing (QE) – making for a wholly uncertain commercial landscape. Business leaders are being forced to have a quick and thorough rethink of their strategies, making it a time to position for survival if ever there was one in the face of the coming tectonic changes. And that involves the ability to manage one’s business through the change.
The worry is that Change Management (CM) initiatives are prone to failure when handled incorrectly. So during a period in which effective change can be the defining factor of a business’s survival, it is essential that leaders learn how to use CM to their benefit, and thereby avoid their demise.
So much effort is put into drawing up their CM plans that many leaders find themselves devoid of time or energy to spend making sure that any new schemes actually work. After all, it is a lot to handle when you are already working full time to make your business a success. But in the face of the introduction of new tariffs on EU trade, the potential loss of EU labours, the QE pressure-cooker threatening to blow, and evermore frequent cyber attacks, it is important to know exactly what needs doing to ensure that any changes made are not in vain.
I have painted a rather bleak picture, but you won’t need me to remind you that well-prepared businesses have in the past profited from times of crisis. With that in mind, here are my top tips for the most effective way to manage your business through the change.
Firstly, you will need a vision for change to guide you from the beginning of the change process and throughout. Right at the start, sit down and give plenty of thought to your company’s current position, the likely trends and characteristics of your industry in the near future, and what needs changing within your company. This is the time to exploit the wisdom of the crowd and by that I mean that the knowledge resides within your workforce and other stakeholders. If you put in lots of effort when it comes to creating an action plan and digging deep to obtain a clear insight of where you are and where you should be heading, you save yourself a lot of hassle later on. Determine exactly what you plan to do and, through canvassing everyone from the get-go, make certain that everyone you need to be involved is standing shoulder to shoulder with you. A shared vision is likely to be a more fruitful one.
Secondly, you will need the ability to get things done: power is an essential ingredient. Business leadership has always required a quick-thinking and straight-talking figurehead, but more than ever, reliable authority is needed. This doesn’t mean throwing your weight around and dictating, but rather encouraging the input of others and collaborating with them, before making executive final decisions. This will ensure you have the confidence to put your name to these decisions. This authority must be used not only within the confines of the office, but outwardly too, to make the company’s presence known and properly established as a source of pride for your employees. No Change Management program is going to be completely without hiccups, so it is important that your colleagues can look to you for strength and reassurance during difficult times, so establish yourself and keep it consistent.
Thirdly engagement – without it, your Change Management efforts are going nowhere. Engaging your employees not only means caring about them and their needs on a day-to-day basis, but now making them the primary source of your company’s change plans. Many a study has recorded the various benefits of employee engagement, from boosted productivity to higher morale and even stronger immune systems, and those who successfully engage their employees will notice a positive vibe throughout the organisation. Employees will feel appreciated and that their input is worth giving, and as a result will work co-operatively and efficiently. Just what you need when the waters are choppy and storms are circling.
Fourthly, the involvement of your movers and shakers in managing the required change is key – you want them lobbying for the change, not against it. Identifying such people is easy: they will be the ones whose passion you notice most in the many meetings you will hold throughout the company to discuss what’s working and what needs to be changed. When you ask for help in pushing specific changes forward, be they to systems, processes or behaviours, they will be the ones who take a step forward and volunteer.
Finally, measurement is essential if you want your CM program to gain traction. All the hard work and employee engagement in the world can disappear straight down the drain if you have no quantifiable way of measuring the success and therefore no reliable basis for acknowledging and saluting each step forward. Despite it being the final step to this guide, this is a consideration that should be made right at the beginning, so you can design your actions around the concept of measurability. Your efforts will only be worthwhile, and will only promise longevity, if you can see concrete evidence of change and learn from your successes and failures. In times of difficulty, you can use your recorded successes to prove to yourselves that you can do it, and to encourage you to go on.
Experts have declared that we are now in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution – putting the current era on par with the Industrial Revolution in terms of the pace of change. It means that new thinking is essential to survive let alone thrive. By heightening your senses, tapping into the senses of your workforce, and committing to Change Management, you are in a strong position to knock any curveballs for six, and thereby see yourself and your team through difficult times.
About Philip Cox-Hynd
The co-founder of consultancy business Harley Young, Philip Cox-Hynd, dovetails his expertise in human development with strategy and process improvement in order to drive positive change in business. Philip’s expertise in business combined with decades-deep insight into human development led to him becoming a strategic and cultural change management expert. Through his company, Harley Young, the author has designed and implemented growth-led change programs for large and small corporations such as Barclays, Pfizer, Microsoft, Arup and Ella’s Kitchen. Find out more: https://harley-young.co.uk/
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