Change is often the only constant. Failing to bring about - or adapt to - change and progress can set your business up for failure. Many people are averse to it, finding even the smallest change difficult to manage and absorb. The philosophy of kaizen, where change is brought about by collaboration, involvement and small yet productive steps can bring great rewards and if managed correctly, make transition as smooth as possible. The following article follows a novel approach to change management.
Set attainable and realistic goals
Many projects and initiatives flounder because unattainable goals are set. Small incisive changes are easier to manage and implement than large and sweeping ones. I remember how productivity dropped when a new software package was implemented without consultation of the workforce. The change-back to the previous implementation was even more arduous.
Involve everyone, from sweeper to CEO and reward effort
At a company that I worked for , the floor sweeper discovered a way to save thousands a week by cleaning and reusing adhesive nozzles. He eventually became a team-leader because the company saw his potential. Never ignore suggestions and input because you never know where the next great suggestion will come from.
Listen to all suggestions
Oftentimes, I come across IT managers and experts who are not willing to listen or take suggestions. Inevitably, they have to listen and follow what was suggested in the first place-unfortunately after hours of frustration. Do not be afraid to listen to suggestions even if you think they are utter nonsense-they may very well be the next pièce de résistance.
Learn from your mistakes
You should always look to improve and continuously try to make positive changes. I use the approach of "testing until breaking" often to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You should know the limitations of a new product or policy before introducing it. Your change management policy should insist on thorough testing. Resist the urge to put off things-never be afraid to try!
Make change management part of your growth strategy
Change management is part of one's growth strategy. Part of growth is identifying and training staff with potential and skills. Up-skilling staff is conducive to good staff morale and staff are more inclined to put in the extra mile when they know that they are being recognized for their hard work and promise.
Foster a relaxed environment
Schedule regular and interactive meetings, and invite comment and suggestion. Run teambuilding exercises and do not tie up your workforce with draconian policies and rules. Companies like Google and Virgin flourish because of this approach.
Get rid of the twenty year plan
While changes need to be brought in incrementally, do not procrastinate. Set deadlines and targets and meet them . Do not over-complicate things, keep them simple. Delegate responsibility to capable people that are driven and produce results.
Count the cost
Weigh options and do research carefully when investing in infrastructure. Hauwei devotes 46% of staff to research and development and they are growing exponentially . Sometimes the mounting costs can affect budgets and resources of existing services and systems. You don't want to irk employees by denying them their cup of java, yet you don't want to delay the implementation of a new system while productivity suffers.
Giant leaps can be made in small steps
Change management is made simpler and easier by adopting small and effective changes. Use kaizen, involve staff, listen to suggestion and go on an improvement drive. Establish timeframes, targets and reward effort and contribution. Most of all do not put off making change part of your growth strategy and business continuity.