A Thoughtful Way to Approach Change Management

In today’s rapidly changing economy it is important that corporations are constantly evolving to keep pace with technological innovation and automation. Corporations of all sizes are starting to grasp an understanding of the disruption that many of these startups are causing. You don’t have to look far to see disruption to countless industries and I believe it is very important to take a step back and look at what routes could have been taken from a change management perspective. With ride-hailing apps (Uber/Lyft) severely increasing market share over yellow medallion cabs, streaming taking over DVD rentals or the clean energy transition from fossil fuels and other long term unsustainable energy sources. With this disruption, many companies are looking into implementing change management initiatives to help the crew withstand the headwinds and let the ship stay afloat during turbulent times. Today I am going to discuss the importance of the change management process to remain ever competitive in today’s rapidly changing environment, influencing/ communication of change management and lastly becoming a forward-thinking organization that is agile to increase market share.

With increased levels of globalization over the past several decades, it is important that many companies are consistently thinking about ways to enhance their change management process. Many organizations will end up failing because they were resistant to change or they didn’t know the correct way to approach and handle the change. A problem that I have noticed is often when certain individuals within an organization are doing the same task for several decades and a sudden change was to come up they are caught off guard and they begin to worry or are resistant. From my experience, people are resistant to the change because it will affect their future and the change was poorly communicated. It is important to also consider, all change is not good for everyone initially. The people impacted may eventually be transferred to a new difficult position that requires reskilling, or they may be let go. Eventually, the organization and the individual will come out ahead if the change was implemented correctly and the individuals have a growth mindset. The organization will not only be able to remain competitive in the marketplace going forward, but they will also have gone through the change management process thoroughly and will be able to handle it more effectively going forward.

If the company isn’t going to be a disruptive innovator, then a two-prong approach should occur to stay ahead of the eight balls. First, senior leadership should be dynamic towards state-of-the-art industry trends and to do so they must be creative and open-minded. Second, the change must be communicated effectively towards the people it is intended to impact. This should be approached through a leadership style rather than a management style. For the individuals to see the benefit of the change, getting them to buy in requires influence and the ability to see how the vision will benefit both them and the organization. Without the proper positive influence, this change will suffer.

Becoming an organization that is forward-thinking requires bold and risky moves that don’t always pay off. Some companies focus too much on the savings aspect and in exchange forgo research and development towards company advancement. One of my favorite examples of a company that didn’t change with the times was Sears. Sears was wildly innovative at inception with the mail-order catalogs at the turn of the 19th century. This company was the largest retailer in the U.S, but it didn’t transform through technological adoption to the advent of eBay, Amazon, and Walmart. As market share decreased, they had to focus on cutting rather than making bold moves for advancement. What was required was an innovative approach to consumer behavior and upfront capital investment in transformative and potentially risky ideas. Even if these risky ideas fail, such as the implementation of an online ordering platform or convenient in-store pickup, the change is being addressed and there is ample time for a turnaround.

​As a whole, I believe the change management process needs to be addressed from a different angle depending on the company size, industry and impact. The main takeaways from the change process involve having influencing leaders communicate the change and working with individuals to think proactively and be more open-minded. One of my favorite politicians and leaders once said a quote that has stuck with me “To Improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill. Regardless of title in the organization, I think it is important that all of us are open to possibilities, aren’t trapped to conventional thinking and focus on future industry developments to position the individual and the company on a strong path.

-Published 9/28/2019

Nothing stated in this article is a recommendation from Forehand Financial to buy or sell a particular security or asset class. You should wisely consider your tolerance for risk, time horizon, and financial goals before making an investment. With investing, you run the risk of losing money, always read an investment prospectus and make an informed decision before allocating capital to a particular investment.  

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