Business systems are constantly under pressure to drive more value from lesser resources. To meet these needs in a dynamic landscape, businesses must be open to change. Change, though touted as the only constant, is not easy and susceptible to resistance. Therefore, driving change in business is an art driven by a good understanding of the underlying factors in an organization. Some of these to take into account are:
A Six Sigma project can be an excellent example of a system where change management is well defined. The project is structured with 3 levels of hierarchy:
- Project Champions – senior leadership that defines the change
- Green belts – certified professionals best suited for the project who work to drive the change
- Black Belts - provide mentoring and a validation of improvement
A parallel structure can be defined for change management across the organization where senior leadership takes the ownership of driving the change, selects the best people to implement the change, and finally a committee or third party evaluates the change.
Intra- organization support and politics
Even with the structure defined above, the change management team must rely on other people within the organization for the project to move forward. The requisite support may sometimes not be available due to conflicting priorities, workload concerns and in some cases personal goals. A clear value proposition on the proposed change can help alleviate most of these concerns and garner support for the change. Where the support is not forthcoming, it is advisable to involve the project champion.
Organization politics, often used in a negative connotation, is a necessary evil that can be used for driving improvements across the company. A selfless use of politics to drive business interests forward can help implement the difficult changes that would otherwise be shot down due to comfort levels with the existing mechanisms.
The right team
There are many enthusiasts when a change journey begins, however, not everyone is suitable to the task at hand. The project champions must identify 2-3 committed team members, the 'green belts' so to speak who are best suited to the project.
To muster up sufficient enthusiasm for the long haul that implementing change usually requires, quick wins are necessary. Visible progress and the measurement against goals is an important step in driving change.
Although the road to change is paved with good intentions some of these pointers in managing change could help the change effort move smoothly.