Wednesday 8 October 2014

Change… the only constant thing in a work environment in People/Team Management – Adapt and Improvise.

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Changes with respect to processes and people have become an inevitable and an integral part of a majority of work environments today. Some changes are made to obtain certain benefits, while some of them are made to evolve as a better and an effective work environment. Sometimes it happens to overcome competition and stay ahead in the game; some other times it becomes matter of sheer existence of the process. In any case it happens a lot, all around us. For a leader it comes with its own set of challenges with regards to changes impacting people (which is a majority of times) and their current style of functioning. Needless to mention announcing/managing change and its impact on people, as to how they see it and how well they transition is not as easy as it may seem. A few situations of changes to a work environment/s that triggers signs of resistance from people are:

·         Movement of people from /to a different team.
·         Bringing two or more different processes together to form a center of excellence of a big process.
·         Major process improvements/releases that need additional training/movement of people.
·         Changes to work patterns /shift timings as a result of all of the above.

And the list is exhaustive. The change, though in the longer run may be beneficial to both the work environment and people involved as well; is not a welcome with people initially. The reason behind may be that we tend to grow complacent so easily and so quickly to environments that we are not willing to see or explore new possibilities. We quickly forget that the situation that we are now so comfortable and happy with was a beginning of a change for us at some point of time in the past.

The success of the change and its benefits as an outcome is defined by the people. In most cases it solely depends on factors as how quickly the team adapts and adheres to the change. Hence to start off with a good leader would communicate the change to his/her team well in advance and does it positively. Efforts must be put to explain that the change is not only good for the future but also a necessity of the present. The benefits should be explained clearly with examples of how it could come around as an opportunity for one and all. The impacting person/s views need to be listened to and options provided wherever possible. Assurance of support wherever required throughout the entire transition would be a bonus. Thus a well communicated and executed change plan would not only ensure a smooth sail but also bring out desired results with very little or no hindrance. Leaders with these change management abilities will be identified as a preferred resource for similar tasks in the future.

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