Change is a constant. It's in times of change that Launch Team becomes involved with clients, whether they’re going through a merger or acquisition, a new product launch, new market entry, or channel reorganization. External and internal communication in these times of change are key.
Jim Knittel, former director of learning and development at Bausch + Lomb and former director of organizational development at LeChase Construction, is an expert in change management. He has consulted with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (OCD), leading initiatives that created lasting change during the company's time of turnaround and acquisition. Jim understands that change is integral to the health of any organization and can help them maintain a competitive edge in their industry.
We asked Jim for his best tips on navigating a company transition. In all industries, he says, there are three key components to ensuring successful change management: accountability, motivation, and rhythm.
Too often the issue with change strategy is that management implements the change but doesn't follow through with it personally. An advocate for the top-down approach, Jim suggests that the most effective way to ensure the acceptance of change is through management's reinforcement and accountability.
- Change has to start at the top of the organization. Think of the trickledown effect.
- Accountability has to start with company leadership; management must be held responsible for initiating the change.
- Give employees positive reinforcement.
- Identify wins, and acknowledge the places change is seen; let people know it's working.
- Make sure employees are aware of the reasons for the change.
- To encourage acceptance, let employees know how the changes are benefitting them.
- Once change has reached the entire organization, accountability at all levels is important to ensuring cohesive, successful change management.
The acceptance of change on an employee's part is often based on their motivation. Employees want to know how they are benefitting throughout the process. As Jim told us, these motivators will change based on the audience.
- Money is what motivates sales employees daily; if they are compensated, they'll do it.
- Typically only 10-20% acceptance is expected if the transition isn't tied to pay.
- Non-sales employees accept change when they see how it relates to the organization's vision, mission and culture.
- These employees require assurance that they are working for the goals and ideas they believe in, and that their work is valued.
- Non-salespeople respond well to recognition and appreciation.
Organizational change takes time, and it occurs in stages. Successful change is dependent on the implementation by leadership and acceptance by all other employees. Jim finds that placing accountability where it is most necessary helps the change progress.
- Pace the change; it cannot be rushed.
- Flow of information is key.
- Cater to the learning styles of employees.
- Have reasonable expectations.
For more ways to ensure successful change management, see our other posts: