Enabling Effective Change in the Face of Disruption
In business, the fact that change is the only constant can not be disputed. Given the rate at which current events, new technologies, and new ways of working disrupt common practices, the only approach for surviving in such unpredictable environments is to develop a change-ready workforce. Traditional operating models that are sustained by years of producing successful outcomes need to be reevaluated. The concept of work, as it has always been known and understood, has recently undergone a monumental shift. Without time to plan or project, organizations had to determine how to uproot their core business and all members of their workforce to operate virtually. As a result of these major upheavals, many businesses are now struggling to maintain momentum for the mission-critical projects and programs that were underway prior to the change.
The momentum required to sustain support for in-flight activities is dependent on effective change management, including the modes of communication used to maintain high morale, engagement, and trust among key team members as they experience change. Without having the option of being in the same physical space to communicate the “why” driving change, leaders must develop effective new ways of articulating the change story and alleviating the anxieties surrounding it. This compelling story for change will fuel the continuation of critical in-flight projects to avoid setbacks and loss of investment.
Investing in New Change Management Strategies to Sustain and Propel Project Success
To ensure the continuation of in-flight projects when suddenly shifting to a virtual workplace, change management approaches must be adjusted.
- Leverage virtual tools to align leaders on project outcomes and to engage stakeholders to sustain buy-in for in-flight projects.
When your workplace suddenly shifts to virtual operations, the members of your project teams will likely need to adopt new strategies for the management of in-flight projects in order to achieve desired project outcomes. For these changes to be effective, you must first ensure that your leaders are aligned on a strategy for reaching these project outcomes while working remotely; only then will employees be able to work purposefully towards producing successful project outcomes in these new working conditions.
- Apply “Fit for Purpose” communication methods to promote higher levels of engagement and build a culture of trust among teams working remotely.
Any significant organizational change is often accompanied by myriad emails and conference calls. As employees shift to the remote workplace, they are forced to balance the conflicting demands of home and office, leaving little room for counterproductive communications. By designing and documenting a comprehensive list of communication tools that will define your team’s parameters for “Ways We Work,” you can provide employees with a clear understanding of how to virtually receive and disseminate information, enabling effective and efficient communication that is critical to the completion of your in-flight projects.
- Assemble Change Ambassadors who will serve as influencers for your change efforts – even when everyone is collaborating virtually.
To sustain momentum for in-flight projects, engaging Change Ambassadors is one of the surest ways to engage employees involved in your projects. Change Ambassadors can serve to turn apprehension into excitement, address employee questions and concerns, and maintain an open dialogue with those who are most highly impacted. Any workplace transition is likely to trigger an influx of questions from employees, all fueled by the same level of urgency. To support leadership and ensure questions are being answered, Change Ambassadors can stand in as key figures, championing the change and keeping lines of communication open. The sooner you successfully engage Change Ambassadors after suddenly shifting to a remote workforce, the sooner you will be able to determine which areas of your in-flight projects need course-correcting and be equipped with the tools to effectively facilitate this change.
- Embed effective social and support networks to augment the employee experience and sustain high levels of collaboration and participation.
Working remotely presents less opportunities for employees to come forward and find solutions to the problems they face. This physical distance often translates to silence and can threaten the progress of entire projects. Using internal networks to virtually replicate the randomness and convenience of bumping into teammates in a shared office space, you can encourage employees to congregate whenever they need support and effectively maintain high levels of collaboration. By setting up these internal networks that cater to the evolving needs of employees, your projects are less likely to fall idle.
The momentum needed to preserve in-flight projects depends entirely on how you choose to support your project teams as they shift to a remote-working world.
As the world seemingly scatters in different directions, it is more important than ever to steer your business in one direction: Forward. Not only must mission-critical projects continue their operations, but in a world full of uncertainty, the continued execution of these projects is more important than ever before.
Contact us to discuss your transformation and change goals and evaluate whether it makes sense to co-create and implement a customized plan of action.