With change being constant in business and information technology, organization administrators and CIOs should be much better at managing the process. Change management style is as much an art as science, but it could be mastered, according to IT leaders. Before deciding to change management, it is important to identify what kind of manager one is and determine if a change is necessary.
Everyone in the information technology field is familiar with the micro definition of change management, which involves upgrading systems using fallback, version control and other methods. Nonetheless, it is the macro definition that is becoming more important. It is a structured approach to change that not only updates systems but also prepares and retains people with the aim of reaching a higher efficiency and success level. With change management, small change could add to big results.
With the change in information technology and business, one should change their management style. One of the defining qualities of a good manager is having more than professional knowledge. One should also have self-knowledge, which means that the person could look inward to examine personal strengths and weaknesses. The leader should also be someone who is willing and happy to listen to the input of others on how they could grow and change.
The following is a list of ways to change the management style effectively.
- IMPROVE CHANGE MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY
To be able to keep abreast of developments on the web, on mobile devices and in the increasingly popular cloud, information technology has to quickly be accustomed to making lesser simultaneous changes but at a higher frequency.
In order to successfully manage change, it is thus important to attend to the bigger impacts of the change. Aside from taking into consideration the tangible effects of change, it is also necessary to think about the personal impact on those affected and their journey into working and behaving in new ways to support the change.
- PAY ATTENTION TO DOWNSTREAM COMMUNICATION
Resistance to change is a myth and employees are afraid only of what they don’t know, thus it is the duty of the manager to decrease uncertainty. The best way is through proper communication. The staff needs to hear something repeated several times to understand it and it should be communicated so they will understand what is in it for them.
There is an art of communicating that will inspire, motivate and help people become enthusiastic of the changes to come. If management is able to communicate well, it would be easy to motivate people. Consider painting a picture of the future and the reason why the firm is heading towards that. More than that is the idea of connecting change to the company’s goals. Communication could range from email, newsletters, meetings and conference calls.
- PAY ATTENTION TO UPSTREAM COMMUNICATION
A survey revealed that over fifty percent of people were concerned that managers have the tendency to exclude lower-level staff in the development and the execution of a change plan. This is a huge mistake because of the fact that there are instances when workers with the best idea or insight into what should be changed, and the best way of doing it are the low-paid employees on the front lines.
Consider developing a game to gather employee feedback. Set up a system wherein employees could do it. Later, surveys could be distributed to get feedback after the systems have been put in place for some time.
- FOCUS ON THE PERSON OR INDIVIDUAL
There are change management initiatives that have been unsuccessful and the reason is the fantasy wherein a new system is installed and will make everyone magically understand their new tasks and the company would organically rearrange itself around what it has to do and employees would get on. This is delusional since workers have the tendency to tightly grasp to areas where they are experienced and successful.
Change will strike at the individual’s self-worth. When something is changed, it is putting a risk the confidence of the person in the ability to get things done. The most successful enterprises have moved from system-centered to people-centered change management. When it comes to changing processes, systems or organizational structures, one should understand the difference between the present and the future result and what this means to different individuals.
- COMMIT THE FUNDS
Another reason why change management initiatives fail is the lack of investment. Although the people part is crucial, the first thing that will be cut down from the budget are the funds for culture work, stakeholder engagement and training. Fortunately however, leading company executives have refrained from costly technology projects that fail and most are now building internal change management capacities or making financial investment. Furthermore, they have recognized that having leaders who are experienced and engaged in investing in managing change would pay off with stronger people management, adoption and more likelihood of results achievement.
- UNDERSTAND THE CHANGE MANAGEMENT ART
The person leading the soft side of managing change should be one with unique skills. It need not be the CIO and as a matter of fact, is more likely a lower-level person in IT with skills more geared towards the art of communication. One should be able to genuinely listen, not only participate what one thinks people would say.
The right person is someone who has the ability to empathize with people, able to predict their reactions and navigate toward win-win instances. Furthermore, it is best if it is a peer that possesses strong leader skills instead of someone in the command and control role. The ideal manager of system change should have humility, enthusiasm and patience.
- COMPREHEND THE SCIENCE OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT
The opposite of the soft side of change management is the process side. Nevertheless, understanding both sides is vital and in no instances should they be undercut or ignored. The key to the success of implementing change is not just a technical challenge but a behavioral and cultural challenge as well. That is why it is of utmost importance for the change leader to understand the science of the process to be able to lead employees towards it.
The change management process must include creative marketing to allow communication between changing audiences and a deep social understanding of the group dynamics and leadership styles. If an industry makes a shift to an advanced system, it is the duty of the leader to prepare the personnel to support the new computing systems.
- NEVER SKIP THE POST-MORTEM
When a project has issues, some organizations have the tendency to blame the innocent and then exonerate the guilty. This should however be avoided. As leaders in information technology come to realize the relevance of enhancing their change management strategies, they will have to work on their learning skills. It is a fact that some things work and some will not, so it is necessary to determine what was done that should not be done again.
Like so many aspects of change management, it all comes back to listening. Managing change is iterative. One should be able to take the pulse of the employees, get in tune with that they require and tweak the plans accordingly.