The New Normal: Managing Continuous Change
Wisetail | 4 min read
Everything has been in a state of continuous change for several years, and business has been along for the ride. In fact, change is now an expected constant, with technology and a shifting marketplace making responsive agility a must.
Continuous improvement is an increasingly standard business goal, but adapting to continuous change is the new normal. Growth and sustainability rely on your company’s flexibility, adaptivity, and leadership. Organizations are shifting their focus to raise awareness about the importance of innovation, thought leadership, and challenging the way “things have always been done.”
Managing continuous change
Continuous change management models identify significant patterns in the areas of customer-based growth, competition-centered innovation, capital management to extend the overall market base, and community support via employment and talent development.
Handled capably, continuous change management:
- Improves business processes.
- Allows for organizational restructuring.
- Supports the development of innovative products and services.
- Provides better work environments.
- Improves a company’s strategic position.
As with any management strategy, it can also have its drawbacks. Employee resistance can be an obstacle if change is handled poorly, and failure can result in financial repercussions and negative effects on company culture. Given the opportunity for growth and improvement — and the unfortunate possibility of failure — it’s crucial to handle continuous change with a carefully considered approach that is also agile, adaptive, and human-centered.
Constant change requires new thinking
Rethinking change management means expanding leadership’s view to include more than the tangibles of technology, reorganization, and new product designs. It means considering the human element of change.
Keeping people and their feelings of safety, connection, and empowerment at the heart of decision-making is trickier than writing and teaching new procedures. To overcome the myths and accepted thought patterns of flawed change management, it’s time to rethink how we approach and measure change for a more realistic view of organizational change today.
Use the following examples to consider challenges from a different perspective:
- People may seem resistant to change, but in reality, they are reacting to poor change implementation. Stakeholders who feel engaged and collaborative about changes react more favorably.
- Productive management requires more than effective communication. In addition to facts and figures, change management should inspire connections with leaders and colleagues, create clearly aligned rewards, and build new capabilities and processes.
- Change is not just top-down. It can also be a bottom-up and side-to-side process. Managing change effectively requires the ability to encourage and allow growth to happen in several directions at once.
- Step-by-step frameworks provide a useful reference, but there is more to change management than charts or printed guidelines.
Refine and refocus
Continuous change presents ongoing opportunities to refine processes and refocus energy. Consider these essential elements to successful change management:
- Focus on people first. People are the center of your business universe. Be ready to address their concerns and questions as you introduce and implement changes.
- Learning and development is a tool of change. Your company’s learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP) is essential for onboarding and compliance training, but it’s also an invaluable tool for developing new skill sets and providing quick training updates as circumstances and goals change.
- An LXP brings people together. Your company’s LXP allows everyone to share in a virtual space even if they are separated geographically. Set up your system to provide for chat rooms, file sharing, and follow-up opportunities for those who need feedback or quick answers.
- Instant access streamlines change. An LMS or LXP can act as a quick reference resource for managing change in real time. Mobile connectivity and easy searchability puts your entire library of training materials at every employee’s fingertips — empowering them to answer questions and solve problems.
- Make change a positive part of the employee experience. Acknowledge change as a constant, and promote your workplace as one that welcomes the challenges change brings and responds with enthusiasm and innovation.
Continuous change is a fact of life in today’s business world, and your company’s L&D strategy plays a big part in successful change management. Rethink your company’s change management strategy, and leverage your LMS or LXP to keep everyone in the know.