A well-known retailer recently laid off its entire change management team. Like many retailers in the shadow of Amazon, the company had been going through a period of decline. A new leader decided that individual project sponsors and managers could handle change management activities for their projects, instead of having a dedicated team of experts.
It’s a common tale. When the business or economy falters, change management seems like the first casualty.
The following are some ways to turn your role as a change agent into a necessity instead of a nice-to-have resource.
Before the downturn:
- Deliver. You can only be seen as indispensable if you’re known as someone who consistently gets things done.
- Instill the fact that change management is not just about IT or project implementation, or about communication and training. It is about organizational effectiveness before, during, and after implementation, and ensuring results.
- Focus on elements like morale, collaboration, and organizational climate. Apply change management to make work better instead of just muddling through change.
- Help managers and leaders be successful at leading change.
- Toot your horn. Change management is often invisible when done well, because people feel like they’ve done it themselves. Make sure leaders recognize it was your analysis and facilitation that made the difference.
- Continue learning, and build your skills and expertise. Document success stories and lessons learned.
During the downturn:
- Position change management as a way to manage and even minimize the downturn. As a change agent, you can help the organization adjust its strategy, consolidate resources, manage layoffs, etc.
- Companies in survival mode (like people in survival mode) can only see their current predicament. Help leaders see the future beyond the immediate threat. They will want to minimize disruption and damage to position the organization for success, and that as a change manager, you can help them do that.
Change agents find themselves on the chopping block when people don’t understand the value they bring to the organization. Clearly demonstrate your value, so you can be seen as indispensable if the time comes to make a decision about which resources to cut.
Become indispensable! Equip yourself with the tools and skills to make a reliable impact by attending the next Fundamentals of Influencing Change at Work course in Atlanta, May 6-8, 2019.