Blog · Aug 12, 2015

Managing Organisational Change

Strategies for managing organisational change

How do you manage change within an organisation? There is no shortage of articles out there offering advice. A quick Google search for ‘Managing organisational change’ returns over 4 million results. However, if someone approached me with that question I wouldn’t point them to Forbes or HBR. Instead I’d show them the Dilbert cartoon below.

This cartoon expertly sums up one of the biggest mistakes that organisations make when it comes to managing organisational change. In fact, I’ll be using it as a slide in future strategy workshops. Planning change, hiring managers and designing processes can be relatively straightforward. However, if your employees aren’t keen to embrace change it will almost certainly be an uphill struggle.

Does your team embrace change?

When I’m helping companies to set business goals I often tell the apocryphal story of a cleaner at NASA during the Apollo Programme. The cleaner was stopped by a visitor to NASA and asked what he was doing. His answer was simple. “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”. Clarity and individual ownership of team goals is vital if the team is to buy in to organisational change. Your team members should be able to sum up, in a few words, what they are trying to achieve as a group or organisation and why they are doing it. Test yourself as well – if you’re not able to explain your objectives clearly how can you expect your team to be able to?

Nobody does it alone

The third of our Performance Principles ‘Work effectively with others to achieve goals’ is particularly relevant when you’re managing change. The Dilbert cartoon highlights a critical mistake that some leaders make. They obsess over the process and don’t stop to think about what the change means for their individual team members. If your team don’t embrace the change then you’ll find it much more difficult to make it happen. Before you even begin the process make sure that you’ve helped them  answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’.

Managing organisational change is a continuous process. It’s critical that you stop to consider the impact on your team at every stage. If they embrace the change as you progress, then it will be far easier to implement and you’ll enjoy far better and long lasting results.

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