In today’s fast-moving world, with an increase in global competition, businesses need to embrace change. Over the years, change has become an important part of any business without which companies might lose their competitive edge and struggle to deliver customer satisfaction.
Dr. John Paul Kotter, a professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School is a thought leader in business and change. Dr. Kotter’s observations of countless leaders and organizations as they were trying to implement and execute proper change management led to the introduction of the 8 step change model. But before we dive deep into the details of it let’s first understand what change management actually means.
Change management is the process of using different tools and techniques to manage people to achieve the required business outcome. But how can this generic process, designed as a road map through an eight-step model, effectively implement change?
The concept of change management has been going on for the past several years; knowing and keeping in mind the effective change methodologies, organizations implement new technologies and initiatives. The 8 step change model aids in minimizing the impact of the change on both the customers and staff, ensuring growth and profitability.
For successful change management, a simpler version of Kotter’s model can be used by breaking the eight-step change process into three key stages-
1. Creating the Climate for Change
2. Engaging and Enabling the Organization
3. Implementing and Sustaining Change
The principal change that happened under these three key stages of the Kotter’s 8 step change model was automation. Let’s understand these steps in detail.
First, set the stage for change. To realize the value of automation, it is important to make executives and transactional processors understand that mainly, the employees and people would be affected by this change. Working with the help of automation would benefit the organization by reducing the manual work used in chasing transactions. To Create the Climate for Change these steps were taken into consideration:
1. Create Urgency: Make the Executives realize that automating low-value tasks, could result in saving dollars and improving productivity. Also, it would give better visibility on metrics for delinquent customers with advanced up-to-date reporting. Similarly, it could help the organization to evolve to better job roles for their staff.
2. Form a Powerful Coalition: To get a buy-in from the stakeholders, seek support and guidance from managers for the teams, and communicate the benefits such as time and effort saved.
3. Create a Vision for Change: For better process efficiency it is important to keep the team motivated, to get them on board. It is important to find time for tasks that are overlooked and focus on them more.
Getting started on making a vision come true, it is critical for an organization to engage the staff and enable change for their betterment. By switching on to a new thought process for change management, action and communication take the front seat. Therein, taking these next set of steps:
4. Communicate the Vision: Having ‘lunch-&-learn’ sessions with a senior member of the onboard team would make them understand the ’why’ of the action plan. This would likely make them feel that they are part of the decision making process. Other than that, managing complexities proactively would be beneficial.
5. Empower Action: Empower employees by conducting training sessions to help them get more acquainted with the system before go-live. Also, conduct Q&A sessions to make the team more comfortable which would help eliminate the fear of change management.
6. Create Quick Wins: Show early benefits and introduce small projects for quick wins to keep employees motivated.
The biggest part of this is evolving. Implementing change management and sustaining it, could be both challenging and easy for an organization. This last piece of the eight-step model basically aids the change management process to function smoothly. Taking the last two steps of the model are:
7. Build on the Change: To have a more efficient process in the place, find areas of improvement, and evolve on a regular basis. If something does not add value, try another approach. Act as a support for other teams and appraise management about new functionalities. Ask analysts to give inputs for future endeavors, this would help them gain confidence and take leads.
8. Make it Stick: The new process is made to reduce work and is above the previous way. Publishing process performance metrics regularly and having continuous training plans to bring onboarded employees to adopt new processes could be a game-changing strategy.
Change Management in any organization is solely responsible for increasing efficiency and effectiveness. These eight steps provide the necessary planning and preparation required for change, as it is not a simple and easy process. It affects every aspect and process involved in the organization. Therefore, to initiate a long term success it is important to have a road map to reach the destination and achieve the goal.
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