By Dr. Kishu Gomes
Prominent business leader, Corporate Icon & Management Consultant, Kishu
Gomes was the Chief of Sri Lanka Tourism (SLTDA & SLTPB) after leading a
multinational operation in Sri Lanka for over 2 decades. He continues to consult
businesses and corporates to take a transformational journey.
Many things cause organizational change. Covid19 is one big example only. Other than
pandemics or epidemics, economic downturns, tougher trading conditions, finance cost
escalation, technological changes, competitive pressures, including mergers and
acquisitions, customer pressure, particularly shifting markets, government legislation or
regulatory changes etc.
All organizations are in flux: changing their focuses, expanding or contracting their activities, and rethinking their products and services. Most organizations more than ten years old look nothing like they did even five years ago. Pre and post-COVID 19 are two different worlds altogether. And it is likely that in the next year or two organizations will not look as they do today.
In this context, managers have to be able to introduce and manage change to ensure
the organizational objectives of change are met, and they have to ensure that they gain
the commitment of their people, both during and after implementation. Often, at the
same time, they also have to ensure that business continues as usual.
Resistance to change may be active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized,
aggressive or timid, and on occasions totally justified. Organizational change
management takes into consideration both the processes and tools that managers use
to make changes at an organizational level. Most organizations want change
implemented with the least resistance and with the most buy-in as possible. For
this to occur, change must be applied with a structured approach so that
transition from one type of behavior to another will be smooth.
As the speed of change continues to increase, change management is a fundamental competency needed by managers, supervisors, Human Resources staff, and organization leaders. To tap your wisdom, my recent survey about change management afforded me the opportunity to consolidate hundreds of years of experience in change management. Here, in your… Change is possible; the need for change is increasing; change capability is necessary for organizations that will succeed in the future. Change management challenges organizations to succeed during times of great change. Employees love to stay in their comfort zone because it is familiar and they know what their expectations are. Many employees fear change and the manager has the responsibility to help employees move through the change process. Managers need to develop themselves as a role model for change and create an environment where all of their employees will get aboard and be willing to make the changes that are needed. It takes a smart and intuitive manager to manage change in any business organization. In order for a manager to effectively manage change in the business setting, they need to develop an understanding of how employees react to change. Every employee will have a different view of change and what their reaction to change will be. It is important that the manager stays visible and is always willing to jump in and help the employees manage change. In order to be an effective manager of change, the employees must continue to feel valued and respected by their manager. If a manager helps the employees through the process of learning to let go of the old way of doing things, they can help the employee adjust to the new changes in their working environment.
Deal with resistance
When a manager is facilitating change in the business world, they need to be
aware and acknowledge that resistance to change is normal and common.
Smart managers will recognize that resistance to change can actually be viewed as a positive sign that the employees are involved with the changes that are occurring in their working environment. If employees do not believe in their managers and lack trust in their decisions or there have been explanations of the reasons for change and how it will benefit the employees, that manager will have difficulty managing any changes that need to be implemented.
Another effective tool for a manager to use to implement change in the business setting
is to involve the employees in the decisions that are being made to change their working
environment. This is a method to help the employees feel valued and more motivated
to go along with the implementation of the changes. This becomes a win-win situation
for the organization, the manager, and all of the employees. Managers that involve their
employees and let them become part of the change will have an easier road for
acceptance from the employees.
Communication is the manager’s best friend. This is how the manager prepares the employees for the changes and can clearly clarify the expectations and expected outcomes. The manager is the individual that clearly can communicate the rationale for the change and answer the employee’s questions and stress the importance for the change to occur. Managers need to remain positive and upbeat and show the employees they are energized to make the changes happen. There are always some risks when changes are being initiated. The manager needs to be ready for the potential negative effects of any changes and have a plan to handle them. If mistakes occur along the way, then this is the opportunity for the manager and their employees to learn from the mistakes and move forward. Organizations that have a talented and effective manager will be able to handle the changes that need to occur to keep them competitive in their industry.