In the past, businesses facing change saw it as a temporary disruption with a beginning, middle, and end. After a new normal is achieved, the thinking goes, the business “recovers” and life returns to normal.
That mindset no longer reflects the changes that organizations face. Product life cycles are a fraction of before, customer experience is a huge part of connecting with consumers, and disruptive competitors with compelling value propositions emerge suddenly.
To keep up, organizations have to make change a way of working and make constant adaptation a permanent part of their cultures.
Why Change Has Changed
When John Kotter formulated his eight-step process for change management in 1995, the goal was to reach a specific point: to arrive at a new status quo. Though updated in 2012, the model itself hasn’t changed much: It still involves creating urgency and a vision, building a team of volunteers, and getting short-term wins to help ease the company into the shift.
Given how much change itself has changed, why do we still cling to this model? Kotter’s thinking was certainly not wrong, but now change happens on a much shorter cycle. Businesses used to introduce new products every few years, resulting in much longer, more stable life cycles. If companies changed, they maintained the same business model and reordered certain processes. With today’s continuous product releases, however, processes constantly shift.
Our understanding of the customer experience was also vastly different. Companies could research what consumers bought and wanted to buy, but they couldn’t tap into what motivated their customers every day. A business’s goal was to create a popular new product rather than change how companies treated customers.
On the rare occasions that mandated new technologies, the waterfall process of spec, design, test, pilot, implement, learn, and use could take years. In every case, the goal was to reach a point when the change was over.
How to Keep Up With Change When It’s a Constant
In an era of constant change, organizations need to develop mindsets that embrace change as part of everyday business. Taking these steps makes an organization better prepared to implement and withstand change:
1. Set dynamic outcomes instead of static benchmarks
When companies view change as a means to an end, the plan for change is fairly clear-cut, so it makes sense to wait until the plan is set before enacting it. When change happens constantly, however, waiting for fully detailed deliverables will make keeping up almost impossible — and they will never be completely right anyway.
Instead, set emergent outcomes that are defined enough to move forward but not so well-defined that they become disempowering for the next level of leaders. Outcomes include defining what changing expectations leaders will face in the new environment and what strategies and practices they should develop to meet those expectations.
2. Create change leaders, not cheerleaders
An “army of the willing,” as Kotter called it, may be the least confrontational approach to take — if you have the time. But when …read more
Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider