Goodbye change management (as it used to be)

Why change management can no longer be regarded as an independent element.

Small changes are not enough to help companies in the current market situation. They are under enormous competitive and innovative pressure, with only one way out: New business models have to be developed, and they must confront the reality of Digital Change. This realignment is a complex process that ties up a lot of employees while simultaneously affecting many levels in the company. How does one manage this change in a time of change?


Be ready to confront the mindset change!

Our experience: First, the decision-makers must confront the mindset change. It precedes all change projects, and it begins at the management level. One example I have observed: Many decision-makers only want to introduce an agile organization (initially). Managers have no problem investing in agile project methods, scrum teams or project sprints. But the actual problem lies elsewhere: It is about making big changes to their executive function. And this includes finding a new role and allowing a great amount of latitude. An agile mindset can only be established if I (as the manager) am ready to give up responsibility and let the teams decide on their own. In summary: Changing Things is preceded by Changing Thinking.


A real focus on employees

With large change projects, it is not enough to focus solely on time requirements, budgets and quality. For these types of projects, the focus must shift to the employees and their new way of work. Take the introduction of a new software solution, for example: The desired change can only happen if the new tools and processes are accepted and used by the employees. A focus on the actual users starts with two questions:

  • Which use cases and application types offer a benefit from the employee's point of view?
  • What (maybe) small changes can be made to existing tools and processes that quickly allow employees to see the initial benefits for themselves?

After this first step, the higher-level change intention, the big plan, can and must be communicated and explained. On-going details about milestones and the roadmap, as well as background information on the initiative, which are accessible to all, pave the way for real transparency. This approach can also be enriched with gamification elements: Small competitions or collecting points activate the play instinct and promote acceptance.