Change management and its importance
Change management can be defined as a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It is an organizational process aimed at helping employees to understand, commit to, accept and embrace changes in their current business environment.
When changes are occurring in an organization, they are going to have impacts and effects on people and processes, among other areas. To help minimize those impacts and effects, from having unintended negative outcomes, it is necessary to have “change management” methodologies, principles and processes in place, with skilled resources delivering and executing on those methodologies. This helps to minimize possible negative outcomes and increase positive results.
Change itself is a process – managing it, leading it, achieving it, is also a process.
Importance of socializing the new process model
Given the challenging nature of business process improvement initiatives, it is essential that they be effectively socialized prior to the outset. These challenges include the potential that such projects impact the entire organization, that numerous tasks are involved in its undertaking, along with the number of individuals involved throughout the organization.
Too often an organization jumps into a business process improvement initiative without taking the time to socialize the initiative throughout the organization. There may be a number of reasons for this, including:
- Lack of understanding about how to socialize such initiatives,
- Lack of interest in socializing such initiatives,
- Lack of understanding about the value and benefit of socialization,
- False belief that socializing is not actually working on the initiative.
What is meant by “socializing”?
Socializing can be defined by the process of getting individuals comfortable with the success of a particular initiative. It does not mean there will be an option not to move forward with the initiative if people aren’t happy about it, but it provides a way to increase the confidence level in an initiative that is going to happen. The goal of socializing is to get buy-in and commitment for the initiative. It is to convert those who are uncomfortable and uncertain about the project into champions who support the initiative and are proponents for it throughout the organization.
Experience shows that when business process improvement initiatives are socialized prior to the actual start of the project, there is an increased likelihood of success of the initiative and buy-in throughout the organization.
Additionally, it enables the implementation of the initiative to go much smoother. Socialization, while it does take a concerted effort to be successful, is far from an onerous process and one, which, when done consistently, reduces the effort involved over time as buy-in and commitment come much quicker.
Socializing is essential for every project undertaken in the organization, but most especially for business process improvement initiatives given that such initiatives have a change management component. And change management initiatives often fail when they are not effectively socialized prior to implementation.
Socializing the Business Process Change
You want to ensure consistency in the message you are delivering to all employees affected by the business process improvement initiative. You are going to want to communicate differently, but consistently with individuals depending on how much they will be affected by the initiative.
The goal in communication planning is to be sure that there is a plan in place to communicate with everyone who needs to be communicated with but also provides for an effective forum to get information across and keep them engaged.
It is important to use a variety of techniques to socialize business process improvement initiatives. One of your primary goals is to engage them in conversation and keep them engaged throughout implementation. Other goals include:
- Determining who is “on board” and who is not (or, your champions and resisters),
- Getting commitment for the initiative and support to implement,
- Keeping buy-in throughout the initiative.
You may use multiple communication channels to socialize the initiative, for example:
- One-on-one conversations,
- Department/business unit meetings,
- Lunch & learns,
- After hours events,
- Small group meetings that include a variety of individuals (not simply from one department).
Improved process walkthrough with animation in a media rich environment can greatly help carry a professional, consistent and attractive socialization of a process improvement initiative. Such communication metaphor can be used within the communication channels listed above.
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