Change, as inevitable as can be, is not something humans take lightly. Not only do we fear change, we have a strong preference for how things have been. The longer things have been that way, the more we prefer it. If things have been one way for a long time, our human nature makes us think that it’s because it must be a good way of living or working. Additionally, habits you formed around a set routine made up on the old ways are notoriously difficult to break. That being said, one of the keys to success is to be agile, adaptable and open to new ideas and ways of operating. Here are our best tips on how to manage organizational change.
Why Change Is So Hard
A study by Duzhou University looking at the status quo of dance education among university students found that students preferred course requirements that have been in place for many years (the longer it has been in place, the more preferred), even if the new course requirements were easier. Another study found that acupuncture patients who were told the practice had been around for 2,000 years expressed more favorable attitudes towards it than those who were told 250 years. Knowing this cognitive bias is there is the first step in making change easier.
When deciding on how to manage organizational change in your workplace, take into consideration how long the current practices have been in play. Have team members ever used another system? Are there proactive training measures in place to help employees adapt. These are key factors in how to manage organizational change in a way that will benefit your team and your enterprise as a whole.
Form New Habits
According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, habit learning is a three-step process: the cue, the actual routine of the behavior, and the reward. Once your brain learns this, it takes less and less mental effort to complete the task: leaving more mental energy for other tasks. Essentially, you stop thinking about what you’re doing, thus making habit change incredibly difficult.
Understanding the structure of how to manage organizational change means examining the habits of your team. The exercise will greatly aid in making it easier for your staff to break old routines and form new ones. If the organizational change that’s going on is making you break a number of habits, take some time to analyze the habits (or tasks) in question. Think about the cue then how you perform the task and the potential reward. Another tip to help create new habits is to disrupt your environment (i.e. reorganize your desk to allow your brain to better form new habits). When deciding how to manage organizational change within your current infrastructure, a quick change can often be better than a gradual shift, especially when it comes to digital tools. You don’t want to encourage habits that only partially utilize new systems, while still maintaining the old ones.
Communication plays a large role in an organization that runs effectively: something that directly impacts how to manage organizational change. If you’re in the management team, involve your employees in the change process as much as possible. If your employees are hearing about new company protocols through the grapevine, you probably won’t hear good feedback or rumors from them. The quicker you can take the information at the management level and communicate it effectively to your employees formally, the less of a chance you have for the rumor mill to churn out negative talk. This will alleviate worry and keep the message from becoming inaccurate.
If everyone is on the same page, you won’t have any expectation dissonance leading to frustration. Removing the fear of the unknown can greatly improve the experience of going through these changes. On top of that, with employees speaking to each other (and maybe even other companies), you can relate to one another’s experiences and work through it together. Our facility and recreation management software and platform help improve internal and member communication. Learn more about how PerfectMind can help you adapt to change, improve your communication and support your community.
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