Successful change is a matter of doing

It's a matter of doing it
Successful change how to do

Change processes are rarely realized under ideal conditions. Examples of common problems are: There is no or too little time to think about the details of issues. Change processes are imposed from above, they are decided in the control room with to little detailed information. There is no consultation with the departments that facilitate the change. Complexity and a multitude of different advice causes the loss of overview. Managers lose their way or run away from their responsibility. Differences in opinion about ‘how’, ‘what’, and especially the ‘why’. These are only a few reasons why change projects so often fail. And that is all the more unfortunate because the world around us is changing faster and faster. Change seems to be increasingly the only constant within organizations. The first change is still in progress when the second and third are already on their way.  Therefore successful change, therefore, becomes a survival strategy.

Success is not a coincidence

With the insights from “The Art of Warfare” by Sun Zi, the Chinese General, Alfaris Lawalata, and Rico van Veenendaal made a comparison between warfare and organizational change. In China at the time, the necessities of life were constantly under pressure and there were hardly any certainties. Survival was priority number 1 at that time. For general Sun Zi, achieving success was the difference between winning or being conquered. Therefore all his activities were entirely focused on achieving success, and victory. He determined his strategy based on 5 specific influences that he used to his advantage. And even the 5 factors that Sun Zi used offer organizations a concrete advantage in the change process.

What is needed to successfully change?

The 5 key factors that ensure successful changes have a concrete and direct influence on the process. And it’s all about choosing the elements that contribute to the success. It is essential to focus on the reason, ‘the why’ of the change. And to direct your focus. Successful organizations focus on learning from their mistakes. In stead of controlling and monitoring to prevent things from going wrong. Futhermore they also focus on the following 5 factors:

1. Motivation and perseverance

Trust and motivation of employees are essential keyfactors in the change process. These are difficult things to manage and not tangible things. However, they are crucial factors in the process. Successful managers enjoy the trust and respect of the employees. They know how to inspire and motivate employees to create exceptional results. By appealing to the qualities and talents of the employees and by also holding them responsible for their results, they trigger the best in people. As a result of the greater involvement of the employees, the greater their drive and motivation.

2. Strategy

A careful analysis of the current situation provides insight into the functioning of the organization, the context, and not insignificantly the qualities of the employees. This requires preparation, insight, a helicopter view, and ‘out of the box’ thinking. The realization that what happens does not depend on the choices that are made but on the interaction between people, is an important success factor. A good strategy should be based on stimulating positive mutual relationships and removing the negative tenor as much as possible. The problems are often hidden in undercurrents. Acknowledging and recognizing this is very important. A strategy that has proven to be successful in practice is bringing and retaining the right people to the table and saying goodbye to employees who do not fit anymore. This requires insight, courage, and perseverance.

3. Leadership

Successful leadership puts the best people on the biggest challenges instead of on the biggest problems. In addition they ask questions instead of giving a ready solution. Finding the right person has more to do with character traits and innate abilities than with knowledge, background, or skills. Successful companies focus on finding the right person for the job. By defining the desired results in the form of the needs and interests of the employees, the employees are motivated naturally. During the change, the manager will constantly check to what extent the strategy will need adjustments to ensure the correct results.

4. Infomation

Transparency in the provision of information is essential. Just like a real picture of the situation during the process. Relevant information should also be available to everyone. First of all, to be able to adjust in threatening situations.And second to inform employees about the concrete results of their efforts. This keeps the employees involved.

5. Communication

The adjustment of simple and effective communication structure needs to be carefully tailored to the target group. The structure ensures that the continuity and reliability of the information reaches all involved parties. An organizational climate must be created where people listen to each other and where there is room for the truth. The use of dialogue and debate is the best means of communication. In addition, it is essential to look for causes and not for culprits.

No guarantee of success

It is difficult to realize a change within an organization. Often a lot of energy is put into adapting organizational structures or ICT systems. Or only part of the problem is addressed in stead of the whole problem. However, the changes in structures and systems have no direct relationship with the results of the change process. It does not matter whether the organization is process- or matrix-driven as long as the organizational structure is simple. Implementing new ICT systems does not ‘automatically’ lead to a successful result. It is no guarantee of a successful change.

It's just a matter of doing it!

In conclusion, successful change depends to a large extent on the quality of the leaders and managers. It is less important what the manager knows and what this person can do, but especially who that person is and how he or she knows to motivate and inspire the people. And with the right people on board, a successful change is just a matter of doing it!