Organizations need to handle significant change as they move toward a post-pandemic environment. The ability to manage change is one of the most crucial skills that CIOs should possess. Whether delivering a new product or service to the market, implementing a new IT system, or just persuading employees to follow a new strategy, CIOs need very sharp change management skills.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, constant change has pervaded all parts of life, including business processes. Executives across industries are aggressively accelerating change agendas to keep customers and employees engaged in a world that is rapidly morphing from bricks and mortar to bricks and clicks – from CIOs implementing new digital technologies at a dizzying pace to CFOs looking to fast-track new products and services to accelerate economic recovery.
5 mistakes to avoid when managing change
In a hurry to reinvent themselves, businesses might fall prey to pitfalls that sabotage change efforts. Here are five reasons why change initiatives frequently fail:
Speed comes at the expense of the plan
While all enterprises agree that quick and timely action is critical to a successful change initiative, businesses should be careful not to let speed overshadow strategy. They need to take time to establish a sound plan that clearly specifies why change is needed, what is changing, who will be affected and how, when changes will occur. They need to be clear on the challenges and obstacles to expect, and how organizations will assess results and recognize success before rushing to initiate the change effort. It will be tough to keep everyone engaged and moving in the same direction without a clear plan for change.
The end-user is overlooked
The failure to include crucial end-users, internal and external stakeholders is a common mistake in crisis response. Businesses should make a concerted effort to gain a complete understanding of their stakeholder groups – their needs, expectations, pain areas, and readiness for change – while planning the change or transformation process. A strategy that meets end-users where they are will have a higher chance of gaining their support and effectively guiding them through the changes that lie ahead.
Too little and too late communication
Businesses would prefer to have all of the answers before engaging with employees in a crisis, but the truth is that they may have to wait days or even weeks for the information they require. Waiting too long can lead to sending out too little, too late. As a general rule, businesses should communicate early and regularly in order to lead with facts and set expectations. Be open about what the organization doesn’t know and what they are doing to find out. Finally, as businesses acquire new and changing information, provide regular updates to manage the conversation and keep the rumor mill at bay.
Adding unnecessary complication to the message
Businesses must strive for clarity, and simplicity while establishing their message platform and avoid using corporate jargon, HR speak, and technical terms. Plain language, suited to each target audience, can help ensure that the message is understood and that all parties are aware of their responsibilities.
Not seeking input along the way
Companies that excel at change are persistent in seeking feedback before, during, and after a change or transformation process is implemented. Businesses can acquire critical insights, course correct as necessary, and better position their initiative for success by giving regular opportunities for employees to share feedback. Businesses implementing change strategies in a vacuum will be unable to anticipate and address potentially major difficulties that could derail their efforts if avenues for feedback are not provided.