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Change As An Opportunity: A Strategic Approach To Change Management

via Forbes: One of the biggest mistakes I see organizations make today is how they handle change. A company will undergo change for many reasons — some will merge to become bigger and more stable, to remain competitive, to build a better brand or simply to survive. But how they handle change is critical to an organization’s success, and it can sometimes be the tipping point between that and failure.

It is a time where the world around us is always changing, and this creates a domino effect that creeps into our communities, organizations and, most importantly, into the minds of people. Ensure your preparedness and stability for change by empowering your human resources department or HR consultant to understand the most innovative and fresh approaches to change management.

Change Is Unsettling
Change is a disruption to the norm and brings fear of the unknown. This fear fosters the idea that what was once perceived as a familiar territory will no longer be the same, which is much less comfortable. The key is to manage change in such a way that your employees view this as an opportunity, not as a threat. You must put some tactics in place to manage these times within your organization so everything flows smoothly, and a positive outcome is in motion.

Change Management Has A Huge Impact On Business
The first major step toward successful change management is having a clear understanding of the approach you are looking to employ within your organization. It is imperative to understand how effective change management can impact a business. This way, you can fully utilize your HR team and work together efficiently to create a change management plan. If you do not have the right understanding or team to manage the plan, then you may want to consider an experienced change management consultant, because having the wrong person in this leading role can mean the difference between success and failure in a merger.

Adding to that, mergers especially must be handled with extreme care because they tend to persist over long periods of time and have a larger rate of failure — almost 70%, according to McKinsey. The top three reasons such changes fail are:

1. Poorly planned integration approaches.

2. Incorrect target identification.

3. Delayed implementation.

Ensuring that your HR team has the right tools and innovative approach for managing change is an important step in change management. But to do that, you must fully understand how vital HR is to the organization when managing change. This includes understanding HR’s role and what to expect when the approach is implemented correctly.

Innovative Tactics For Change Management
The definition of change is simple: “to make or become different.” So, with any change in an organization, HR has an important role to play. Responsibilities of this role include:

• Effectively managing change, causing little to no disruption to the workforce.

• Communicating and coaching employees through the change.

• Acting as conductor of the initiative by designing steps and ensuring resources are secured.

• Putting together an acquisition committee with the right department leads to ensure all moving parts are in sync.

For your HR or change management consultant to effectively fulfill their duties, they should work on implementing the following tactics to streamline change management:

1. Solidify understanding of the family: Get to know the people and the history of the organization before you start to implement change. The work environment could have been a place where people were mistreated, creating feelings of mistrust, fear and manipulation. You must know your audience for change to run smoothly. If you have never worked with a corporate life coach before, now is the time.

2. Create an acquisition committee: Your committee should have at least one person from the following departments: Human resources, information technology, finance and operations, and an employee advocate or team lead. Others can be added depending on your industry and organizational structure. Having a head from each department ensures efficiency and keeps everyone on the same page.

3. Map out a strategic communication plan: Lack of communication is the No. 1 morale killer. Having gone through hundreds of acquisitions, I have repeatedly noticed that what will make or break the merger is how things are communicated across departments. Employees want transparency. They want to know:

• What does this transition mean for them?

• What are the steps involved?

• Should they be worried about their jobs?

• Will departments be affected?

Make sure you are keeping your employees involved. This will strengthen the relationship, build buy-in, encourage reactions and identify barriers. You should be prepared to ask: “How are we doing? Is there something we could be doing better?” Merger success is hinged upon your employees’ understanding that they are in good hands. Their jobs are major parts of their lives, and it is crucial that they understand what is going on, and that they aided in the decision making process.

4. Make sure employees understand their role: It is also important that all employees are steered toward a growth mindset. They should know that change is an opportunity, and that they should not lose sleep over a merger. This merger should be viewed as a situation that has potential for positive new beginnings. Having a corporate life coach during such times to guide employees through their anxiety is beneficial to the organization in gaining trust.

These innovative strategies for change management will largely boost the rate of success for mergers and acquisitions in your company. It is vital that human resources or a change management consultant be involved to streamline the process and make sure that these tactics are implemented in a timely matter. This approach will create a solid foundation that will be able to hold its own, enforce corporate health and bounce back from many obstacles.

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