Managing Innovation and Change

managing innovation and change business slide

Managing innovation and change that lasts.

Change is the only constant.  ~ Heraclictus, Greek Philosopher

This holds true for the work environment. 

Whether you move your office to another location, adopt a new practice or process, implement an IT system, or re-engineer the business processes for an organization, change happens to everyone all the time.

However, failure to manage and sustain the change causes many of these change initiatives to be short-lived.

For change to be successful and long lasting, take note of the following key considerations when you implement change programs/initiatives in your organization:

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Future State Vision

Define and rally around a compelling vision for the future state. What potentially threats this vision? How urgent is the change? What risks occur if the organization does not change? How will you know when we get there?

Present the facts and findings to create awareness and convince employees to buy-in for the change initiative. These facts could include flat earnings, rising costs, decreasing market share, and other relevant key indicators where necessary

Identify the key resistance issues and stakeholders impacted by the change and address them. Be prepared to deal with emotional and political issues.

Create a compelling vision and an urgency for change.  This moves people out from their comfort zones to a behavior change.

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Managing innovation and change means communicating the vision to middle management and staff regularly with the right messages targeted at the right groups and at the right time.

Communicate fully and honestly describing changes that will take place as well as the reasons for them. Communication tools include

  • "Town hall" sessions
  • round-tables
  • huddles
  • newsletters
  • emails from top management

Do not limit the commnuication to one congregational meeting, a ministerial-type sermon or a single mail out from the CEO.

Get feedback from employees on how they see the change issues and the ideas they can offer to resolve them.

To get people to perceive the effort as important, you need to walk the talk.

Engage in behaviors desired of employees, and make it clear that you  commit to the change and you expect the same from them as well.

Utilize all available channels of communication and opportunity.

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A Change Strategy and Infrastructure

Define on paper the change strategy and the change programs required (e.g. how to create awareness, how to communicate, what training programs, what pilot projects to start with, etc.). Review and consolidate the managing innovation and change plan.

Identify the tangible and intangible results to be achieved at the end of the change process. How does success look like?

Assess the need to invest in additional resources (e.g. more people) to support the plan.

For changes affecting an organization, set up a change management teams. These change management teams compose of a cross-functional members.

  • A core team made up of a steering committee (e.g. senior executives) and a working team (e.g. functional managers)
  • A team of change agents, i.e. change champions from each operations unit affected by the change; The change agents also act as link-pins between the operations units and the core team.

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Training and Education

Review the relevant business functions and work processes impacted by the change to determine the new skill requirements for the stakeholders.

To enable the various stakeholders to perform to the requirements expected from the change initiative, the following steps may be helpful:

  • Identify the required training needs
  • Consolidate the training plan 
  • Design and develop the training packages
  • Review the training material specifications with customers to obtain feedback and clarity of the contents and structural aspects of the training programs
  • Consider pilot testing the training material and conduct training dry-run for new trainers
  • Conduct training and collect training feedback 
  • Review feedback from participants and instructors and fine-tune training plan, training schedule and training programs

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Test the new approach with one or more pilot teams and prove that new ways beat the old.

Involve your employees in the problem solving or process improvement and empower them during the managing innovation and change process.

If they know that they are an active part of the solution, they can identify new and unknown opportunities.

Highlight the tangible and intangible benefits or quick wins as a result of implementing the new practice/process/system to gain wider acceptance.

Follow up on areas for improvement and unresolved issues.

Draw learning points as reference for subsequent processes and/or systems and for mass implementations.

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Sustain the Momentum

For change to last, it must be part of your organization's culture. The core values need to embrace change and be demonstrated by the leadership and employees in their day-to-day activities.

When hiring and training new staff, ensure to include the change ideals and core values in the selection criteria and training programs respectively.

Publicize quick wins and success stories in your communication sessions.

Recognize key members of the steering and working committees, outstanding change agents, teams and individuals who contributed to the objectives of the change initiatives.

Create a "hall of fame" to recognize the contributions of old and new employees.

Develop succession plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on.

Review the managing innovation and change process and draw the lessons learned and incorporate them in new change programs/initiatives as part of continuous improvement.

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Conclusion for Managing Innovation and Change

With proper planning and keeping the necessary foundations in place, your can manage change easily and successfully.

If you are able to implement the key factors mentioned above, you can help to ingrain change as part of your cultural fabric.

By creating sustainable change, only then can you realize the fruits of your vision.

Article written by Allan Ung of Operation Excellence Consulting for Quality Assurance Solutions. Article edited and posted by Quality Assurance Solutions

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