Whether you are a CEO or a middle manager in a large enterprise or organization, you must be familiar with the feeling of working in a constantly changing environment.
Nowadays, technology has evolved to a point where change is the constant factor, and for a company to not only survive but succeed, it must adapt to change and evolve at an unprecedented rate.
Still, enterprise change management requires a tightly knit plan and execution strategy to leverage transformation and yield positive results. Therefore, here is my question: What are the important aspects to keep in mind to manage significant changes in large organizations?
CXO Checklist: Preparing for the Next Change in Your Enterprise
When grand changes are taking place either internally, or even externally, employees within large organizations need to see some plan in place for enterprise change management. Here are some points that need to be addressed within a plan for positive and effective change management.
The lack of accountability as to who is responsible to manage change will surely lead to a failed execution of change management. When change is obvious to employees, but they don’t see anyone claiming ownership in managing the changes, feelings of disconnect become rampant. This can easily lead to reduced motivation and employee attrition.
- Top Down vs. Bottom Up
Recruiting people to collaborate fully with any large-scale plan is impossible unless clear communication channels are open from top down and from bottom up. There needs to be channels for input, feedback and discussion.
In addition, although this may seem obvious, any plan will fail if managers across the board do not set personal examples and engage in open channels of communication with employees.
- Aligning with Strategic Goals
I’ll start by saying this: alignment is king. Alignment with strategic goals is crucial to ensuring that change will occur successfully. All of the business units must be connected to a plan on a large scale. This is particularly true when it comes to budget portfolio management, which can make or break the fulfillment of your overarching business goals.
- Planning for the Unexpected
Despite all efforts, no one can foresee the future to the level that we’d like to think, from external to internal events, therefore some unexpected change is inevitable.
For example, a major change in the foreign exchange rate is bound to change every aspect of your business. But you can plan up ahead and create a plan B for such a scenario.
- Humans vs. Machines
Here lies the ancient battle between two important forces and both are vital to manage change. Humans are fallible and require the assistance of technology to get through the maze of complexity in today’s world. If only one factor is leading the plan, effective change management will most likely remain a plan on “paper” and not in practice.
- Don’t Change Too Much – Or Too Often Often
There is so much change going on in our external world, and yet organizations plan massive changes internally such as reorganization almost on a yearly basis. Change fatigue is the one of the most hazardous obstacles to enterprise change management.
If you’re not familiar with the term, I suggest reading this great article from Forbes, Change Fatigue: Taking its toll on your employee?
In general, when changes happen very often, it causes employees to be cautious with their approach regarding change, and particularly very skeptic (since most change fail) to the promises of the current change driving any positive results.
Planning for change is the easy part. Executing it is the tricky part. Especially for large organizations, the more difficult and complex change management will be. In a typical large global enterprise where channels of communication and collaboration between the departments are at a minimum, the obstacles are even greater to manage change across the various branches, countries, time zones, and cultures.
Here’s my recommendations: Devise your change management plans for various scenarios to plan for the unplanned because you must be ready for the unexpected. But don’t leave it only up to humans.
Use technology to give your organization more flexibility and to increase your effectiveness in managing change for the long term. Remember to align even small details to the master strategic plan for total alignment.
Most importantly, create accountability with ownership for tasks and bi-directional channels for communication. Once you have accountability engrained in your organization, you are ready to unlock the keys for success to weather changes, and harness them to thrive.