Change Management: From Chaos to Transformation
Change permeates and envelopes us, and is the one constant in our lives. Think of all the workplace changes in just the past few years related to how we create, use, share, retain, and dispose of information. Our ever-increasing need to collaborate and communicate, to analyze and innovate, and to “be mobile” has led to sometimes massive change to existing technologies as well as new solutions that enable us to attain our objectives.
Since change is inevitable, then why is the lack of managing that change the number one reason technology projects fail? The oldest and strongest emotion in mankind is fear, with fear of the unknown topping the list. So perhaps it is fear of the unknown that is behind the failure to adopt, accept, and enable change.
Often, change management efforts focus on process changes and training employees on those revised processes required by the implementation of new technologies. There is so much more to change management, however, than a training plan and a communication protocol. Where change management is really needed is on the “people side” of change. What are some obvious signs of employee resistance to change?
- Decline in productivity as employees feel de-motivated
- Key employees get frustrated and quit
- Work-arounds (often very creative!) escalate
- A culture of failure grows, and employees ask themselves, “why bother?”
- Deterioration in morale and employees spend a lot of time sharing in the misery
- A mistrust of management and leadership due to a lack of transparency and availability
- Employees proactively try to sabotage the system
Let’s look at the other side of the coin now, where change is embraced and integrated. The impact to the bottom line can be significant. Adapting to change (and doing so quickly) in response to marketplace needs or technology innovation can result in a competitive advantage, increased market share, and profits. Organizations that refuse to change get left behind.
Of course, not all change management efforts are the same. The magnitude of the change (type, scope, size, number of employees affected, etc.), the potential resistance, and a vision of what the change will look like are all significant factors in determining the complexity of a change management strategy. An initial impact analysis will help define the capacity for change. However, if there is one key critical success factor to all change management initiatives, it is a clear demonstration of leadership support. Is there a leadership team that is accountable for the success of the change? Do leaders invest their personal time and attention to following through on actions related to the change?
Come join me at AIIM where, straight from the trenches, I will share real-life examples of successful change management efforts as well as epic failures. We’ll investigate the winning formula for successful integration of change into the organization – whether it’s a change in information management roles and responsibilities, process and procedures, and / or technology. Incorporating key change management principles will increase the success of change management initiatives by applying a structured framework of methods, tools, and processes, to manage the change from current to future state and realize real ROI.
About Laurie Fischer
Laurie serves as a managing director in the Information Governance practice within the Advisory business at HBR Consulting (HBR), consulting on the increasingly complex and demanding regulatory and technological challenges of today’s information management environment. Laurie has over 25 years of consulting experience partnering with clients of all industries and sizes to help them achieve their enterprise-wide compliance and governance objectives.
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