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Creating a Culture of Change: Tips for Navigating Organizational Shifts

Discover the strategic steps leaders can take to successfully navigate organizational change and create a culture that embraces and adapts to shifts.

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Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have - and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.

--James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

Change implementation can be a stressful time for organizations. Changes such as, implementing new business processes and technology, shifting economic landscapes, organizational structure, and culture changes within an enterprise, as well as getting employees on board can all be a confusing and stressful process for the employees, leaders, and organization. 

However, if the leaders are equipped with the skills to play the different roles they need in the change process and are willing to adapt their leadership style and focus on the different phases of the change process, this journey can become fluid. 

Leaders must understand and recognize the state of confusion, fear, or frustration the employees and stakeholders may be experiencing during the process and be willing to extend their support to achieve stability while minimizing chaos and discomfort for the employees and other stakeholders to make the transition smoother. 

Here are 8 strategic steps that you can implement as a leader to successfully navigate change in your organization and gain the support of your employees:

Communicate Why Change is Necessary

Change can be uncomfortable and frightening for employees. The fear of job loss, pay cuts, change management, and rumors emerging make it worse. Instead of letting rumors and fears build chaos, deal with the transition beforehand. 

Communicate the need for change and why it is necessary. Emphasize on the challenges the organization is currently facing and how the new process or management will be able to make improvements.

Clearly communicate to your employees what to expect and make sure to leave room for answering their questions and concerns. 

Form a Core Team to Carry out Change

Assemble the best suitable team who would work to create and implement the change process. People with vision, expertise, and experience who can design, communicate, and implement change processes can be a good fit for the coalition. 

Also, people with a consultancy or project management background can be helpful during the change management process. They have experience determining change requirements, creating processes, and developing and implementing change process strategies. 

Furthermore, the core team must prepare a clear communication strategy to engage employees in the change process and effectively carry out the change without disrupting the business activities. 

Eliminate Barriers to the Change 

The leaders need to recognize the barriers to change early on in the process. 

This could include: 

  • Old systems and processes that are no longer relevant 

  • Formal organizational/hierarchical structures that do not support the anticipated change 

  • Lack of skills (gap between the current state and the future vision)

  • Ineffective leadership style

  • Barrier to change elimination and adaptation of new skills, structures, and systems that support the new vision. 

  • Unfamiliar systems and processes can be overwhelming and confusing for employees. Invest in in-house and external training programs to train employees on the new systems and processes. Strategize hiring temporary staff to support the transition if necessary. 

  • Create cross-functional teams to create new and improved structures and roles relevant to multiple departments within the organization, aligned with the new vision. 

  • Lack of skills is an unavoidable factor during the transition. There will always be a gap between the organization’s existing and future state. Invest in training programs aligning with the organization’s vision to equip employees and leaders with the necessary skills.

  • In process-led organizations, managers may focus on the task rather than people. Their idea of success is getting the job done, and they pay little attention to motivation and morale. Managers play a critical role in influencing and encouraging their people to change. Incorporate training programs for managers to effectively communicate change to their team members.

Consolidate Changes and Review Progress 

Consolidation and reviewing the progress of change management is a crucial part that allows the leaders to examine the implementations and the loopholes. The effort is always to get it right in the first place, but leaders should be ready for minor setbacks and be flexible in their approach to make necessary changes. 

Ensure that you have metrics and systems in place to assess the impact of the change. Identify and evaluate what risks have occurred due to the change. Work with the core team and stakeholders to gather feedback and revise the necessary adjustments.

Transparency is the key when it comes to effective change management. Openly communicate the hazards or challenges that may arise from the change to your core team and re-implement the change with adjustments.

The change process can be a sensitive and frustrating time for an organization. Alongside implementing the new systems, hierarchical structures, and processes, leaders must cater to managing employee expectations and concerns. A clear communication plan can reduce the chaos during the change process by minimizing the rumors and misunderstandings within the organization. 

The core team plays a vital role in carrying out the change, and it must consist of the organization’s most competent and experienced resources. Furthermore, hiring external support can reduce the complexity of the process by providing added assistance to the existing workforce and bringing in expertise that does not exist within the organization.

If you are a HerMeNow participant or alumni, book your free coaching session now through the HerMeNow website

portrait of Anam Anjum

Anam Anjum Wellness Consultant +971 52 629 9656


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