Change is the only constant.
This quote came over 2500 years ago with Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesu, but the principle stays the same. Our workplaces are always changing. Whether it is new software, new employee, or new dress code, each change has impacts on employees and teams that last far longer than the initial change.
While most would agree that change is always happening, we don’t treat it like one. The idea of “Change Management”, operates like project management where there is a clear beginning and a clear end. However, we all know change doesn’t work like that. There can be multiple changes happening at one time that have varying impacts on different teams across organizations.
This is why the idea of “change Agility” came about. It a concept that promotes not just managing change, but creating a culture where change is easily excepted and can be navigated much quicker with smaller overall impacts on teams.
So what are the things you need to have a more Change Agile organization?
1. A Vision
How do you know how to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? Creating a vision for what and organization or team might look like and being completely transparent with that vision is the first step to being change agile. If you can’t easily articulate your vision, how can you expect people to follow you? Now you don’t have to have every part of the journey mapped out. Change doesn’t happen in a straight line, but like a bunch of zig-zags as your journey will have easy parts and harder ones. However, with a clear concise vision, you will be able to manage those zig-zags and still be moving in a forward direction.
2. Involve others in the process
A big difference is between a change agile organization and all the others is the ability to involve more people in the change. Many decisions are made in board rooms full of VPs without a full understanding of how that change is going to impact everyone else. While it is important for leaders to be able to make changes quickly and represent their teams, it is also critical to make the team is involved. Even if that simply means asking one person, “Is there something that we aren’t thinking about?” Just that simple question can expose you to ideas you to things you didn’t know existed and make the team feel like they were involved with the change and that there thoughts and concerns were indeed considered.
Communication is definitely a buzz-word. All sorts of people talk about how you need to communicate more and more and more until the only thing you are doing is communicating. This idea is inherently flawed because there is only so much communicating that can be done. What I want you to focus on more is constant communication. Providing updates on a constant basis on the status of the project, things that were discussed, or ideas that were shared allow employees and team members to understand the process. Many leaders will say they communicate all the time, but really they might communicate 5 times in one week, then not mention the change again for a month. The amount of communication you are doing is less important than the consistency of communication.
Change agility is the future for organizations. Instead of viewing a change as a project with a beginning and end, we need to start creating cultures that are ready and willing to take the change head-on As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure that happens by providing that clear vision, involving people in the process, and communication consistently throughout every process. Doing those things will allow changes to flow naturally and make them happen quicker and more effectively.