Managing change in any company can pose serious challenges for any manager no matter what level. In all sectors of business today which includes government, museum and arts sector, private and non profit, there are huge changes taking place. As a manager, you need to stop spending the bulk of your time convincing yourself and others why these changes are happening. Times change, so you need to change with it or you will get left behind. As the once husband of Liza Minelli David Gest once said, “She got the magazine on a Wednesday morning, and on Thursday announced our marriage was over” (Find quote here).
Technology changes, demographics change, government policies change as does the financial market. When things are changing in your organisation, the last thing you want to be discussing all the time is what a winning organisations characteristics are. Give yourself and your staff a break. I think you and your staff know what they are. Instead, the bulk of your timer should be spent on managing yourself and your staff to get through whatever changes are happening.
People in all divisions of your company need to come to grips with planning for serious changes. So you are not alone when it happens. Everyone from frontline employees right up to CEO level, have certain challenges ahead of them. The challenge for you however is to find ways to manage the changes and keep up with what’s going on. Sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Many years ago I was faced with a challenge of huge changes within the company I worked for. I was responsible for about 30 or so staff members. We were changing the company who provided all our services that we offered, more specifically, we were changing the telephone company that we represented. A huge challenge was to change all our customers over form one carrier to the other. An even bigger challenge was to help the staff to transition smoothly. I could have harped on about how unhappy I was about the change but I chose to harp on about the positives of the move to my sales people. I organised information nights and training sessions with the new carrier and generally kept them as busy as possible while implementing the changes bit by bit.
Remember that your employees are your biggest asset. What you have to do is to somehow position capable staff members against new opportunities. Some will welcome the challenge while others wont. So it’s up to you to find ways to do this and manage the change. In years gone by, it was common practice in many companies to ‘purge’ their staff and get rid of ones that were not up to standard. Even then the challenge to managers was how to be humane to the ones that were ‘purged’. Today the focus has shifted somewhat and managers who were used to firing people regularly, had to manage this change to what we thankfully have today and that is the challenge of asking people to learn new sets of skills rather than facing the possibility of losing their jobs.
Change is inevitable. If you don’t keep up, you lose. As a manager, even you have to learn new skills that you previously may not have needed but because things change all the time, you have to adapt. Managing change is not easy but the answers are not in the old style of management. Rather it’s in the management principals which are specifically directed at allowing the behaviours of your staff to change while maintaining the morale at the same time. Yes, a challenge indeed.