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4 Tips for Successful Organizational Change Management

The evolving world has created unique and unprecedented challenges for IT leaders, especially in terms of remote workflows and organizational management. According to a recent survey from Helix Market Research, 52% of Fortune 1000 IT leaders are prioritizing remote work as a critical investment in 2020. This is no surprise since 58% of the U.S. workforce now works from home.

IT leaders have been tasked with controlling and keeping the entire business operating through their unique perspective and confident vision. To accomplish this, they must first make organizational change management (OCM) a core focus. OCM refers to the systematic approach and use of tools, knowledge and other resources to manage change within an organization. Change is hard for many people and a lack of change is one of the primary reasons IT projects fail to meet their intended impact. Here are four tips to successfully manage organizational change, especially in times of crisis.

Implement urgency

Passion and urgency are two characteristics that drive individuals to succeed and accomplish substantial tasks. As a leader, communicate your passions and be transparent about the change management process from the start. Educate your employees on why immediate action is essential and how they can participate in the process. Transparency helps bring - and keep - your team on board, and a proactive approach combats the reactive mindset that can hold back necessary change.

Preparation is key

OCM can be applied to changes in an entire organization, like shifting to remote work, or what steps a leader applies to a specific project. Flexibility is critical in times of uncertainty since optimization and efficiency are key. The best way to get there is through adjustment and willingness to change. Shifting away from constantly putting out fires and adopting a strategy that proactively prevents them is a must for IT teams.

Many believe new tools and modern technology will automatically ensure accomplishment, but actual OCM requires change across the company, affecting every process, tool and individual.

Leaders should use OCM to redefine and expand success metrics, followed by an established budget and outlined opportunities for continued revenue. Remember that adoption and end-user satisfaction should be considered success metrics to track on an ongoing basis. Don't neglect employee motivation. A leader must help their team engage with the OCM process to create positive short- and long-term impact.

Measure OCM impact

Measuring the true success of an OCM initiative is a long, ongoing process. However, before beginning operations, outline metrics and protocols to determine how you'll measure success. Define what a meaningful impact looks like for your business or project. Success metrics should include concrete measurements like implementation time, or more anecdotal metrics like improved customer satisfaction. Prioritizing this will help build a consistent feedback loop that generates ongoing improvement throughout the project.

Don't forget about the people

In business, you have your IT operating system, and you also have the HumanOS or human operating system. Unfortunately, many IT leaders do not fully appreciate the HumanOS and its role in motivation and team value. The HumanOS comprises four motivational centers: the head, hands, feet and heart, all of which map back to the OCM process. The head allows employees to understand information and what changes are being made. The hands do the hard work while the feet represent shared passion and desire to drive the business forward. Finally, the heart is what leads every individual to believe in the reasoning and mission behind the changes.

These strategies may seem incredibly simple, but they require intense, precise and intentional  action to integrate with everyday workflows and routines. IT teams often neglect steps they feel are unnecessary and sluggish. But to ensure an OCM initiative is successful, leaders must be proactive rather than reactive and clearly communicate their passion and vision with their team from the start.


About the Author

Sean McDermott 

Sean McDermott is Founder and CEO of Windward Consulting and RedMonocle. Sean previously acted as Founder and CEO of RealOps, Inc., the pioneer in enterprise management Run Book Automation solutions which was acquired by BMC. Sean is an advocate for business leadership strategies and shares how other entrepreneurs can align passion and action on his blog, Wheels up World.

Published Tuesday, October 06, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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