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Change is Hard. How to Embrace it.

For organizations to stay ahead of their competition and avoid customer churn, it is often necessary to ride the early waves of new innovations and take calculated risks to increase the chances of progressively better returns on investments. Such change can however cause inefficiencies if not disruptions to normal operating processes and procedures in the short term. Focus must therefore be put on adaptability and root cause analyses of each challenge related to implementation, followed by shared problem solving by individual leaders and teams.

The goal: To drive to optimal efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and innovation, positioning for sustained, competitive top and bottom lines..

Leaders are often left out of the loop when transformative change – often involving a digital transition — is being considered. Innovative business model changes are often mandated when the most enduring change should be the result of a movement, inspired by the leadership, but driven by those on the line in areas such as marketing, sales, and customer service. If you are caught in a labyrinth of new processes and technology – consult a transformational change specialist.

Truly transformative and enduring change that positions for long-term sustainability cannot happen in a vacuum

Top management dropped a bombshell on the organization – a new ‘software solution’ to manage prospective clients and deepen existing relationships. Minimal transparency and sudden change made team members uncomfortable. They had worked for years on multiple interconnected legacy systems and Excel sheets. It seemed more like a policing tool to everyone.

Members of the sales team were most apprehensive. Top management mandated that they input all of their prospect and client related information into the CRM system’s database. The rationale was compelling – to enable better analytics and pipeline visibility – but poorly communicated. To the sales team in particular it seemed more like a means to make them dispensable!

The new CRM system was implemented inconsistently throughout divisions and geographies. There was no standardized approach to the capture of information and analysis of strategic insights. Some prioritized the communication of sales and client information directly to top management over the strategic usage of the new CRM. Others found a means to manage prospective and client relationships with real time information that was offered by customer service representatives, bypassing the robust use of the CRM solution. The investment in the form of the interfaces and user experience was ultimately deemed to be below par.

The introduction of streamlined change management techniques with a heavy emphasis on continuous transparent communications and two-way feedback processes would have positioned for an efficient implementation of the new system where the ROI could have been optimized.

Five Ways to Embrace Change

Change is a constant in today’s business climate. High-performing organizations therefore invest heavily in the training and development of high potential managers and leaders to thrive as Positive Disruptors ™ — those who can envision, plan for and generate a groundswell of support for and engagement in cross organizational collaboration at the execution of Change at Core™ — disruptive departures from deeply embedded mindsets and mature, entrenched cultures, structures and operations..

Two-thirds of organizations expect the number of change initiatives to increase in the next five years yet only half provide change management training to employees, according to the Association for Talent Development. It therefore follows that 70% of change initiatives fail in terms of business impact and culture change according to McKinsey.

How can we ride the waves of continuous change and stay in control? Here are five tips:

  • Don’t spontaneously react negatively to change like we have been hardwired to do. Consider the rationale and potential benefits of the change(s) that has been introduced.
  • Try not to be judgmental and keep an open mind. If you have been following competitive and innovative developments in your industry, change may be welcomed, at which point you can and should position yourself to become a Change Master™.
  • Stay calm and avoid making hasty decisions. Share your observations, concerns and the opportunities that the change could present with fellow team members with an eye to embracing the learning and development opportunity.
  • Don’t let concerns with your ability to execute on the change cause you to lose your self-confidence. Consult a mentor with a neutral mindset for a fresh perspective.
  • Learn to thrive in the VUCA world we live in (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity)…to see around the proverbial corners and celebrate the possibilities and their achievability in the spirit of growth, learning and making a meaningful difference.

Nobody can predict the outcome of the Super Bowl and people that take life as it comes are more contented individuals. Those that learn to be adaptable will thrive in a world replete with randomness.

Seek the expertise of transformative change specialists to dramatically improve your odds of game-changing outcomes when disruptive departures from the status quo are called for.

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