Don’t leave change management to chance

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

It’s said that the only constant in life is change. The business world is not immune from this truth. There’s even a whole field dedicated to helping companies navigate times of transition. It’s called change management.

Change in any context requires a mindset rooted in curiosity and fearlessness, not fear. How do you foster this feeling in the workplace when uncertainty prevails? Following are practical ways:

1. Speak the same language.

Words matter and can be an unintended source of confusion internally. Start by creating a company-wide glossary or style guide with commonly used terms or phrases. Cut the clutter and limit the use of jargon for the sake of jargon. Get everyone on board, regardless of level or seniority, using the same lexicon.

The truth is if different departments use inconsistent language to describe the same thing, the higher the chance of misunderstandings and mistakes. That chaos could come across externally and weaken your brand and credibility.

2. Prioritize visibility.

It’s a phrase heard in offices everywhere: Where are we with X project and who’s responsible for the next steps? The human element of project management (PM) can be the weakest link. That’s why software solutions (like the one Jack Patton is developing at Stre.me) can provide a big-picture view so that everyone is plugged into status updates, in real-time.

A comprehensive view, along with a unified strategy, helps break down silos and better prioritize projects. Real-time insights can encourage efficiency and reduce the amount of unproductive time on the job. With such tools, there’s no need to wonder about project status or manually update spreadsheets.

3. Increase transparency.

A lack of transparency and communication can wreak havoc on an organization in the form of the rumor mill, coffee pot conversations and undue anxiety. Transparency and fierce communications across the ranks and meaningful communication are critical.

Messaging should be consistent, personalized, and delivered to address different learning styles. For example, in some organizations, a weekly or monthly employee newsletter, social media posts and Slack are some solutions companies have implemented.

Beyond the execution, you should seek feedback from employees about whether or not the communication is resonating with them. Consider employing surveys, polls, or using the Happy or Not system to measure employee satisfaction in the workplace and easily accessible tools to capture their opinions.

4. Be open to the future of work.

As I shared a few weeks ago, the face of work is drastically transforming—and no industry is immune. The digital age and knowledge work has created a paradigm in which constant innovation, collaboration, and improvement are necessary for organizations to remain competitive. How are you staying ahead of the curve?


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