How to Prepare Your Team for Transformational Change

The onslaught of disruptive technologies like AI and blockchain and new business models like platforms have given rise to an urgent need for companies to embrace transformational change.

But often, organisations are ill-prepared to carry out these changes. According to Gartner, 50% of change initiatives fail, and only 34% can be deemed a clear success.

Business leaders tasked with spearheading significant organisational initiatives need to be aware of the pitfalls and the key steps to make the transition easier.

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Why is Transformational Change Management Crucial?


Companies undertake change to recalibrate their products, processes, workflows and strategies all the time. And these initiatives are singular, more frequent and often involve only a subset of employees in an organization or a vertical.

These are called adaptive changes, and they are small, gradual, iterative and much easier to implement. For example, hiring new employees to keep up with increased demand.

But transformational changes are very different from adaptive changes. They are much larger in scale and scope, often leading to dramatic shifts and sudden departures from the traditional ways.

Transformational change can affect the entire organization and includes projects like launching a new division or changing a business model.

Given its complexity and sweeping effect, transformational change requires strong leadership, from the earliest stages of conception and preparation to implementation and resolution. It requires managing company culture, internal processes, rebuilding technology architecture and corporate hierarchy.

5 Steps to Managing Transformational Change


As leaders address the changes caused by digital disruption, they need to have a clear path before them, a well-defined goal and outcome and how they expect to navigate the dynamic transition.

 

Here are 5 key steps to achieve transformational change in an organisation:

Prepare Your Entire Team for Transformational Change


Business leaders need to prepare both logistically and culturally to pursue organisational change.

Transformational changes affect all employees, hence cultural preparation takes precedence over logistics. The goal here is to help employees recognise and understand the need for change and get buy in for the initiative.

To prepare for the transitions, leaders should raise awareness of the challenges that the organisation is facing and the disruptions they are trying to overtake.

Gaining this initial support from employees will help remove friction and resistance later on.

Have a Vision and Craft a Plan to Bring Transformational Projects to Fruition


Managers should have clear expectations from the initiatives they are undertaking and should remain outcome-oriented throughout the entire project. They should know their:

  • Strategic goals — what key goals is the business trying to achieve.
  • Key Performance Indicators — what metrics will be used, what will success look like.
  • Project stakeholders and team — who is responsible for which task, whose sign-off does the project need.
  • Project scope — how to keep the project aligned towards a unified vision.
  • Roadblocks — how to account for any unknowns or roadblocks and remain agile enough to address them.

Execute the Changes


Arguably, implementing the changes is the biggest hurdle — especially when transformational changes can involve the company’s structure, strategy, systems, processes and employee behaviours.

To successfully carry out these changes, it’s vital that business leaders arm their employees with the training and knowledge they need to overcome the barriers and challenges they expect from the initiative. They should prepare ahead for anticipated roadblocks and take measures to mitigate them.

In addition, leaders must communicate and reiterate the main goal of the transformational change to keep their employees motivated and focused.

Establish Changes Within Company Culture and Processes


After the changes have been implemented, it’s important for leaders to ensure that end-users and employees are not reverting to the traditional ways and the changes are instilled in everyday actions.

This especially applies to changes in processes, workflows, culture and strategies.

By taking measures to prevent a reversion — like organisational structures, controls and reward systems — leaders can mitigate backsliding.

Review Progress and Analyse Results


Conducting analysis and reviewing a change initiative can help leaders understand whether it was successful or not. It can also help them discover valuable insights that prove useful in future initiatives.

To carry out transformational projects, business leaders need a deep understanding of the forces making the changes necessary.

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