Changes occur everywhere and do not even stop at the office door. If we approach them in a structured and positive way, even deep cuts can turn into promising new beginnings. However, if we reject those changes and hide behind old routines, we will not be successful in the long term. How do you change from a creature of habit to a master of change management? We’ll explain it to you.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, change at the right time has always been an important factor for sustainable competitiveness. Numerous examples from the past prove this: Steve Jobs recognized already in the early 2000s the importance of mobile devices with high computing power. With the first iPhone, he ventured a 180-degree turn in the mobile phone market. Carl Benz also quickly understood that the time is over for muscle-powered treadmills and horse-drawn carriages and developed the first motor-driven vehicle. What do the two have in common?
Recognizing changes and reacting to changes
Both entrepreneurs identified various changes in the market and within society. They did not react negatively, but positively by developing a vision that could take advantage of these changes. They took appropriate measures to implement their vision. In the case of Carl Benz, this meant leaving his previous company. Steve Jobs first had to cooperate with Motorola before he could launch his own smartphone. So both entrepreneurs went through an intense process of change that meant significant cuts for them but was necessary for sustained success.
Change management in the company
Change management can be seen as a tool for such change processes. It should help companies to move from a certain initial state to a target state. This does not necessarily mean a groundbreaking innovation or new invention. For example, your company may have to reorient its corporate culture, introduce a different communication tool or change its production methods.
Change management includes all steps of implementation. The individual steps should be well planned, precisely controlled, regularly monitored and sufficiently stabilized. This listing shows us that change management is not suitable for a dawn raid. In order to induce change and complete it in a targeted manner, it requires intensive focusing and expertise. It is therefore advisable to call in an appropriate change management consultant for your company.
Convincing creatures of habit to change
Such consultants, also known as change managers, naturally differ in their approach, as there are different models to which change management refers to. But there is one principle that everyone will follow: every change manager will proclaim that change only works if all employees get involved. Since we as creatures of habit usually carry out certain processes in the same way, however, a change is rejected by many in general. It is therefore not only fundamental to fulfill all the economic requirements for a change, but also to respond individually to employees. This includes addressing concerns, questions, and criticism from colleagues at eye level.
Successful change management
If you google the term change management, dozens of models will pop up. Terms such as input strategy, project coordination, course determination or identification appear in colourful circles, steep pyramids or arrow-shaped timelines. But what really needs to be considered? We have created a short overview for you and orientate ourselves on the model of J. Kotter.
- Create the right climate for change: It is important to create a general understanding within the company why change must take place. Then develop a vision and strategy for change together with a project team.
- Get everyone on board: Find the right channel to reach all employees. Whether workshops, conferences or regular email updates – it’s important to communicate your vision to everyone and clear your point. Give your employees the opportunity to help shape change.
- Introducing and maintaining change: Celebrate your first successes together with your colleagues and reinforce your actions. This increases the motivation of all participants and lets them experience the transition phase positively.
- Begin to anchor the changes you have made in the corporate culture in order to slowly turn elements of change into established components of your company. You can build on these components continuously in the further course and arrive at the target state at the appropriate time.
Change as a constant
As a conclusion we can give you some advice: Creating something new requires courage, patience, trust, and commitment. Every employee has to find his or her position in the change process and needs a manager who delivers the necessary resources and thus creates a fruitful environment. Plan every step strategically and purposefully, but at the same time remain open to unexpected turns. Carl Benz certainly hadn’t planned that his wife of all people would make the first trip in an automobile. With her journey, however, Bertha Benz proved the suitability of the unknown vehicle and thus introduced a new era of mobility. Every change process is therefore individual, and changes of conditions remain a reliable constant during the process.
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