Three change management pitfalls to avoid

By Robert Half on 16 February 2016

In today’s fiercely competitive business environment firms need to adapt and evolve – often rapidly. So it’s no surprise the term ‘change management’ has become a hot new buzzword.

There is a whole host of reasons why your business may need to embrace change – a merger; plans for an initial public offering; or simply coming to terms with new technology or compliance requirements. These can all signify the organisation, and more importantly, its people, face significant change.

While change can be exciting for some, it can be tremendously stressful for others. Nevertheless, there is no place for change resistance in Asia’s modern business world – especially among corporate leaders. 

Pitfall #1: Being unwilling to change

In an ever-changing commercial environment, sticking with yesterday’s winning strategy could hold the business back. The corporate world is littered with examples of strong brands that have fallen by the wayside simply because the business persisted with what was once a winning formula while failing to recognise shifts in the market.

Managers must be prepared to embrace change in order to remain relevant. Some may find it uncomfortable to recognise that a particular strategy has a use-by date but it’s a fact of life in Asia’s modern corporate eco-system.

To embrace, inspire and manage change, try these three strategies:

Accept that in business nothing stays the same forever. Then aim to stay abreast of short term and long term trends.
Encourage your team to be forward thinking while being mindful that change isn’t always an easy process for some of your employees.
Acknowledge that you are at the helm of the business, and your positive approach to driving change can inspire the people around you.

Pitfall #2: Failing to maintain the momentum

In many cases, creating change is easy. However, a key change management pitfall is the ability to maintain the momentum to embrace further change in the future. Yet the reality is that change is an ongoing part of corporate success. 

To prevent your change management process losing steam, surround yourself with people who actively demonstrate leadership during periods of change, and who can inspire and motivate employees to accept that change is not just inevitable but good for corporate growth.

Pitfall #3: Sending mixed messages

Clear communication is critical to change management, especially if you hope to guide your team through the evolution of ongoing change.

As a business leader, a key pitfall of change management is overlooking the need to reassure and motivate your team. You cannot afford to have the message diluted as it trickles down from senior management to each employee. Everyone must be onboard to embrace change and work towards a shared goal.

Sure, some employees will have concerns. Be prepared to address these issues by highlighting the benefits and potential opportunities of change. Be available to answer any concerns that may arise. And remember, if one employee raises an issue, there’s a good chance others share the same concern so be prepared to remove the myth from the fact by disseminating information promptly and widely.

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