Change processes: Change projects often fail because they are not managed professionally enough. An article on the dos and don'ts in complex change projects in companies. An expert discussion with Farid el-Nomanyone of the most experienced change management consultants in Germany.
Classical? Top management projects focus on the design of new strategies, organisational forms, process flows and planning/control systems with about 90% of the existing project capacity. However, 70% of these projects fail.
Change management is the art of professionally steering major change processes.
A change management project differs from other projects in that it Focus on the sustainable change processes of the working environment (structures, processes, interfaces, team compositions, etc.) of People and on the Achieving acceptance for the change itself. Here the Focus on employees as people and the question of how it can be accompanied to implement the change.
This means that within the framework of the "change", all measures are directed towards to inform, to involve, to empower, to accompany and to take responsibility.
A necessary prerequisite for change processes is a high degree of agreement among the most important actors as to which ACTUAL state should be changed and what the ideal state should look like. A clear and defined goal is needed!
Achieve buy-in from key stakeholders on the upcoming changes
First The first step is to create acceptance for the change processes and the second step is to implement the changes themselves. Active change management focuses on the involvement of the people affected. This means taking measures to
- Initiation & mobilisation of the change process
- Involvement of all staff and experts (and thus existing know-how)
- Empowerment/qualification of stakeholders and affected persons
- Ensuring sustainability
These are just a few keys to solutions, sustainable change and value enhancement.
One of the biggest mistakes in the design of change processes is that communication and the creation of acceptance are underestimated at the beginning of the change and are not planned*, says Farid El-Nomany, a management consultant from the company elccon who specialises in change management.2.
Acceptance management includes all communicative measures to ensure that managers and employees deal with the changes in a positive and motivated manner and to promote the willingness to actively participate in the changes.
Farid El-Nomany: "From the very beginning, it is indispensable within the framework of acceptance management not only to inform employees about the developments and goals of the change process on a factual level and to involve them, but also to take into account the socio-emotional aspects that accompany the change project.
2 elccon: Leading expert network for change management in Germany ? www.elccon.com
Professional change management protects against productivity slumps
According to El-Nomany, acceptance management must be well adapted to the company, the upcoming changes and those affected. There is no standard procedure here.
These are usually a whole bundle of measures that are adapted to the organisation ? depending on the size and structure of the workforce, history, initial situation and acting persons. These can be, for example:
Roadshows and meetings
Films, podcasts, webcasts
Off-Sites and Team Buildings
Large group facilitation, e.g. Open Space or World Cafés
Shop Floor Information
Creative complacency of internal communication professionals and agencies as a trap
The decisive factor is not to communicate in a sexy, glossy way and to make the most creative use of the latest channels and media, but to communicate in a targeted, sincere and transparent way with a view to creating acceptance of the changes," says the change professional. Change communication is not an advertising event, but sincere information of the employees as partners of the change.
From the consultant's experience, creative complacency and overly promotional internal communication is often a trap that communication professionals and agencies fall into.
Even excellent acceptance management does not yet generate sustainable behavioural changes
However, even excellent acceptance management does not guarantee sustainable change, but merely creates an essential prerequisite for it.
The elccon consultant knows from experience: 'Just because people realise and understand why changes are necessary in the company, does not mean that they are personally willing to change long-standing behaviour and routines?
That is why one of the Key questions in change projects: How do we achieve that managers and employees become drivers AND implementers of the desired change and are willing to change routines? What framework is needed to ensure that as many employees and managers as possible really follow the path and ideally even shape it?
It is frightening how many company leaders still believe that it is enough to just emphasise the need for change often enough and appeal to managers and employees, says change expert El-Nomany.
What exactly is to become different and how will we notice that something is different?
In the opinion of the elccon founder, the development of a common understanding in the management of what exactly should be different is a delicate process and often needs external support. The consultant knows from experience that there is often only a vague understanding that something needs to be different.
Therefore, the development of a common line in the management and the Active management of change by the managers themselves of central importance for the success of the change process.
El-Nomany says: "No consultant can take the responsibility for the change process away from the management. We can accompany, provide our know-how and methodological knowledge, but success will depend on the degree of internal responsibility for the process. Both at the top of the company and by the employees themselves?
Wash me, but don't get me wet' doesn't work here either," says the change expert clearly.
In order to achieve sustainable changes in behaviour, further measures are recommended, e.g.:
- Stocktaking for actual/target comparison
- Training and skills development also through job shadowing, rotations, etc.
- Changing structures and processes
- Dialogue platforms
- Clear responsibilities in change
- Daily theming of changes on the shop floor, new routines and meetings
- Mentoring systems
- Internal external supervision
- Visualisation of the changes
- Dos & Don'ts ? Films, Tutorials
- and much more.
You can do a lot, but the decisive factor is what achieves the greatest possible effectiveness with the least effort in precisely this company, says El-Nomany.
In his view, the change process needs a clear direction from the top and a concept tailored to the company and the issue.
The real challenge: to persuade people to make lasting changes in their personal behaviour!
In the context of most change projects, new attitudes and new skills of managers and employees are required. That is the real challenge: to accompany people sustainably and purposefully to changes in their personal behaviour!
This does not happen by chance, but requires careful consideration, professional management of the change and the assumption of responsibility within the company, the change manager concludes.