Change management is the systematic approach to transitioning from one environment to another through the reassignment of resources, business processes, budget allocations, or other aspects that significantly alter a company or organization.
As is the case with most major decisions in a corporation, you will be relied upon for guidance as a sales leader, and expected to help navigate your team through transitions like this. I have outlined six major principles of change management below, to help prepare you for this responsibility.
1.State your case.
Confidently indicate to your team that change must occur and lay out the reasons why. While passion is important, quantifiable data paints a much stronger picture and can be utilized to demonstrate the need for change within the organization. Once you’ve articulated the need for change and the end goal, present a roadmap that shows how you plan on getting there. That way, everyone starts on the same page.
2.Take it from the top.
Before your team or your clients will accept change, you must accept it. Embrace the new approach or direction you’re taking, and make it very apparent to those around you that this is an initiative that you strongly believe in. In addition to being positive, you must ensure alignment amongst yourself and the other leaders in your organization. Speaking the same language of acceptance and excitement about a new endeavor from the leadership level, will energize everyone on the team.
3.Don’t forget about the little guys.
Just as it’s important to ensure harmony among the company’s elite, it’s also your duty as a leader to make sure that the lower levels of your team or organization aren’t forgotten. Changes involve all layers of your staff, and it can be easy to prioritize some over others. When navigating difficult transitions, even one squeaky wheel can be a problem. Make sure that you provide a structured plan to each member of your team, and take everyone’s concerns into consideration.
As you’re progressing through the challenging task of transitioning your team or organization, ensure that each task has been assigned an owner and hold them accountable for that process. In some instances, it works best to have an overall “owner” of the process and individuals who are accountable for steps along the way. Other times, having multiple individuals working in conjunction with one another is a more viable strategy to complete the task at hand.
5.Account for the subtle changes, too.
All too often, growth is stunted because smaller, more immediate changes, aren’t considered with as much regard as the more prominent ones. Whether it’s a question of how the culture of your organization will be affected or what it will mean for your prospects and clients, it’s important to analyze the transition from all angles to make sure that there are no surprises during your rollout.
6.There will always be surprises.
No matter how well-intentioned your efforts are, there will certainly be things that pop-up out of nowhere as you’re making this change… and that’s okay. Effectively managing transitions requires you to constantly update your assessment of the impact it’s having, and the outcome it will have on your organization. Nothing is perfect its first time through. Be prepared for some unexpected occurrences and anticipate the need to be flexible.
Change is never easy, but it’s a necessary part of evolving as an individual, team, or organization. Laying out the groundwork, considering all parties involved, planning ahead, and preparing for the unexpected will make the transition as seamless as it can be.