Whether a new company like OWIT Global or an established firm, a company’s success and growth require fostering an effective change management culture and establishing a corporate wide ability to adapt as needed to both external and internal conditions that will continually evolve.
Change is Inevitable
As with any organization, change at OWIT Global is inevitable. And as a young organization, the rate of change will be impacted by the company’s early growth as well as the insurance and technology business environments that impact all companies in our space.
Change creates uncertainty and individuals react differently. Some may enjoy the challenge and the continual evolution, while others will be fearful of the shifting status quo.
While intellectually everyone might acknowledge that change is beneficial to the organization as a whole and ultimately to the employees as individuals, resistance to change is a human response, creating an obstacle that should be foreseen and planned for.
Approaches for Minimizing Resistance and Accepting Change
- One approach to help minimize resistance is to create cross-functional teams with representation from all areas of the organization. The role of the team members is to represent their respective group and act as the liaison and conduit for information, ideas, and communication between the change team and their department.
- Companies usually know to put together transition teams for large changes such as mergers and acquisitions, but they should also adopt a company-wide process to establish transition teams for the smaller, yet continuous, changes
- Cross-functional teams are part of the solution, but additional methods of ongoing communication are of equal importance. When employees are kept apprised of change –the what, the why, the how, and the progress – they are less likely to create a strong resistance. These communications can often be crafted by a marketing team who is already skilled at positioning and messaging. Communication distribution can take many forms; from email to company meetings, promotional flyers and posters, employee contests, and anything else that help employees feel engaged and part of the process.
No matter how much thought and effort goes into a change, there will always be personnel that have a difficult time. It’s important to identify those who don’t handle change well and plan for a bit of extra coaching and attention to help them adapt and hopefully see the benefit sooner rather than later. The organization might encourage employees who are having a problem adapting to express their concerns in a “non-judgement zone” where they can walk into a manager’s office and share their perspective without being negatively impacted.
Since I know change at OWIT Global is unavoidable, anyone who joins our team will be asked to understand and assist to ensure successful change. I also know that even with the best of intentions, human nature will kick in and create some level of resistance. I hope to identify resistance early, empathize, and give that extra coaching.
In the end, there is no silver bullet to avoiding resistance to change, but being aware of the possibility, recognizing when it happens, and having a plan to address should be part of each organization’s change management playbook.