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Four steps to effective change management

Words by Josh Grant
September 17, 2021

From remote onboarding and hybrid employment models to digital events and virtual selling, how you adapt to evolving industry trends and shifting working environments is more important now than ever before. For your business to seamlessly handle a generational shift in ways of working, you need to learn how to effectively communicate, enact and manage organisational change.

In this article, we’ll discuss change management as a concept and I’ll take you through some learnings we have observed, when forming your approach to successful change management. There are four key considerations I’ll cover:

  1. Uncovering issues
  2. Building the narrative
  3. Embodying change
  4. Measurement and improvement

What is change management?

Change management is the process of preparing your business and employees for organisational change. This includes the communication of strategic goals, implementation of new technology and the ability to scale initiatives like these across your whole organisation.

Uncover any issues

There are countless challenges your organisation can face, and it’s important to clearly identify core workflow gaps or issues before you can implement changes. Is your team not reaching enough customers? Are deals stalling somewhere along the pipeline? Is your value proposition confusing?

For example, if your customer coverage is low, the automation of manual workflows can be a game changer. Your team might be spending too much time on admin—manually sourcing, interpreting and laboriously updating customer-specific data for individual customer presentations. This could also have knock-on effects on other teams and your business as a whole. A thorough inspection of specific issues will help to uncover the foundation you need to build from.

Once you have accepted what needs to be changed, carefully consider the positives and negatives of any potential solutions. You need to find an outcome that can fit as seamlessly as possible with your team’s workflows as the risk of low adoption can derail the entire process.

Build the narrative

As a leader, the strategic benefits of your vision won’t always noticeably align with the common needs of your team. Lead with open and honest communication, highlighting positive impacts and the reasoning behind any decisions, as it is important to agree upon a shared vision of success to combat people’s natural resistance to change. Get in front of more customers. Reduce sales prep time. Automate content creation. Make sure you reinforce any positive impacts and clearly explain any process changes, as structure and clarity will make lasting change more achievable.

Identify the change agents in your team, the leaders and team members who are most excited by new improvements and the opportunity to learn new skills. Their enthusiasm will build excitement and help win over those that are more resistant. Find ways to engage and incentivise your team throughout this process, as implementation can be a long and complex process, especially for enterprise-level organisations.

Embody change

Once the process is underway, it is important that your team has access to resources and guidance to make everything as smooth as possible. Creating guides, facilitating workshops, and implementing sales training and product certifications—these are all integral in ensuring your team not only feels supported, but is also encouraged to engage with new initiatives.

Leading by example is the most effective way to get your team to follow. Be the first to undertake training, voice immediate benefits, and share your experiences on Slack or Teams—every little action counts.

But also, make sure to follow through by clearly supporting the new way and removing/rejecting the old way. For example, let’s say you are integrating your CRM with a content automation platform. Traditional content formats, such as PowerPoint—the ‘old way’—require customer-specific data to be manually sourced, interpreted and laboriously updated—taking hours, or sometimes days, per presentation. The ‘new way’ has your data sources integrated, meaning content populates automatically for each customer presentation.  So if you kept updating the old PowerPoint documents as well, you’d be asking (or at least allowing) your team to keep manually researching and entering data into the old content templates, and sending the message that organisational change doesn’t matter as you’re still wasting time with the old process.

Measure and improve

Once you have built the process, embodied change and then communicated—even over-communicated—the narrative around implementing your cutting-edge workflows and adopting new techniques, you can focus on managing change as an ongoing business goal.

Tracking performance metrics and encouraging ongoing feedback is key, as you will be able to feed results back to your team and back up your change narrative. Sales productivity, customer coverage, deal velocity—these metrics will begin to adjust and become more important as time goes on.

Besides performance measurement, it’s necessary to get feedback from your team on how they are dealing with change. Meetings, retros and surveys are great ways to back up positive stats or potentially uncover deeper issues that might exist if your results aren’t on track according to your initial expectations.

Effectively managing change plays an integral role in your organisation’s growth and success in a constantly shifting global environment. Want to learn more about how you can transform your business, not just your workflow? Schedule a time to speak with our team.