Times are a changin’

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“The only constant is change”, as the saying goes. Work as we know it is being turned on its head with telecommuting, working with and managing teams in various geographic locations, emerging technologies such as Chat Bots and AI etc. Not to mention the many external factors that affect the internal workings of organizations such as policies, regulations etc. Many employees and organizations are dealing with how to manage these multiple changes. Change management is an intervention used within organizations to get employees on board with change and minimize disruption to the business.

As a Learning and Development professional, the change management hat is one that I wear at times. The difficulty with being a change agent, is that I need to get on board with the change quickly so that I can then help others to embrace it. One skill that can help employees embrace change quickly is adaptability. This is your ability to manage disruptions and adjust to new conditions quickly. Go with the flow. It is beneficial to keep an open mind.

Let’s talk about how to manage change in organizations: it begins with each individual.  Organizations are comprised of people working together towards shared goals. If the people do not get onboard, change cannot be successful.  So how do we motivate employees to embrace change? There are several tactics that can be applied but the key is to emphasize the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) factor for each individual. Explain what’s in it for them – give them the autonomy to own the change.

Effectively managing change requires managing people and managing those processes, tools and techniques that will impact those people. ADKAR is one of many models available that’s used to help identify, diagnose and strategize. This model comes from the organization Prosci.

The acronym means this:

A – awareness of the need for change

D – desire to support and participate in the change

K – knowledge of how to change

A – ability to implement the required skills and behaviour

R – reinforcement to sustain the change

The model is only a tool because each organization has different needs. However, to manage change effectively, there are common threads across organizations.

Thread 1: Leadership buy-in is essential

Thread 2: Alignment with strategic business objectives

Thread 3: Techniques must appeal to individuals – establish engagement and learning

Effective change happens when everyone’s on board.