Managing Change shouldn’t just be a gig that strikes the right chord

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Collaboration, engagement and sustainability are the key ingredients for the successful management of change within any business. Worthy methodology, fabulous technology and the promise of a bright new future will count for nothing unless an appropriate and supportive culture is truly embedded at all levels within a business. Put simply, it’s about having the right mindset and it really is a journey for the long term. While there is likely to be immediate performance benefits from operational and process improvements, the true benefits of effective change management are exponential – or at least they should be.

When confronted with the seemingly impenetrable barrier of legacy and the trepidation that precedes the introduction of new working practices and new technologies, it is all too easy to be hoodwinked by the prospect of a quick fix. Indeed, there are plenty of commentators keen to champion the virtues of introducing a ‘SWAT team’ of senior consultants to identify and then address operational shortcomings in a bid to achieve the desired business ‘transformation’. The growth of the so-called ‘gig economy’ has added further mud to this water. Putting aside the obvious distortion from vested interests and exceptional distress situations, such an approach is not only very short-term and costly, but also invariably fails to fulfill the fundamental need for sustainability and continuous development.

Transformational change is not something that should be imposed by external experts who then disappear off with the same promise to bring the house down at their next groovy change management gig. Effective change requires a cultural shift to underpin both short-term improvements and, more importantly, ongoing developments that will help the business maintain competitive advantage and commercial resilience. It’s the people within the business that will determine the success or failure of a change management programme. With the right guidance, support and mentoring, they are the ones who are in the position to deliver and sustain the brave new world of change – a world where agility and opportunity take the place of inertia and limitation.

Truly engaging with all levels of personnel, agreeing common goals, sharing experiences and ensuring that the implementation of change is a collaborative process are the keys for success. By providing people with the motivation, environment and the right ‘tools’ to achieve the target outcomes, ‘change’ becomes a way of life within the business rather than a leap of faith or an unwelcome diktat from an external SWAT team!

Michael Carson is Head of Analysis within Libra Change Partners at Libra Europe Consulting, specialising in designing effective change management programmes for businesses

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