Effective Change Management Practices

There’s change management, and then there’s change management in a crisis. Many of us wish we would have been prepared for COVID-19. We would have tested whether or not our VPNs worked from home. We would have finally purchased an ergonomic desk chair and set up our home offices, but we didn’t have the chance to prepare. This crisis forced us to change… no questions asked, and hardly any of us had time to think or plan, we had to act.

Comfortable being uncomfortable  

When your organization chooses to embark upon organizational change, or an outside factor forces it upon you – how do your leaders react? Some of you may be familiar with the VUCA framework – commonly used in business to categorize challenges. Leaders can use this framework to determine their response to crises. 

V – Volatility

Volatile challenges are uncertain and exist for an unknown length of time. They normally arise without warning.

U – Uncertain

Uncertain challenges occur with lack of information.

C – Complex

These challenges encompass many different facets which need unpacking. With complex challenges, it’s difficult to understand how the dynamics intermingle.

A – Ambiguous

With ambiguous challenges, it’s difficult to determine the cause and effect.

If we unpack COVID-19 utilizing VUCA, we may classify it as volatile – we aren't sure how quickly the threat will subside and uncertain. 

At StratusLIVE, we believe change (either change that we choose or change that is thrust upon us) can be a competitive advantage. Change is often the impetus behind improvement, innovation, evolution, and viability. Customers (donors) and markets rapidly evolve and when organizations do not follow suit, they fall behind.

However, even with this reality, change is often endorsed by the few imposing the change and resisted by the majority receiving the change. For the recipients, change brings uncertainty, skepticism, and anxiety. That's why Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategies are needed to offset the natural resistance to change and sustain the benefits of new business strategies, enabling technologies, and business transformation initiatives. 

At StratusLIVE, our commitment to helping customers with their OCM begins with our Director of Customer Success. Our director was part of the successful implementation of StratusLIVE in a nonprofit organization and led the change management process. Her experience enables her to deliver our change management plans and services with your goals and success in mind.

Why change management is important Change Management Graphic

Change management is an approach to systemically shift individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state while mitigating productivity loss during the transition, creating the environment for sustained change, and realizing the benefits of change more quickly.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, staff productivity decreases up to 75% during unmanaged change. In order to combat productivity loss, it is vital organizations adopt change management practices.

The implementation of a new software system such as StratusLIVE 365 will move many people away from the status quo and outside their comfort zones. Most enterprise software implementations involve many cautious or resistant users and a smaller number of users who are adamantly opposed to change. This later group may be initially difficult to recognize as they generally cast doubt in private forums outside of management visibility. If uncontrolled, the hidden agendas and failure to embrace the needed change will significantly challenge the project and likely result in time and budget overruns.

To proactively head off this predictable occurrence, we recommend an OCM program to operate in parallel to application deployment. The OCM program will analyze changes caused by the new solution, forecast the operational impacts, understand the cascading effects to users, prepare staff for change, and implement methods to minimize employee resistance to change while simultaneously maximizing the effectiveness of the change effort.

People first, then technology

Change is usually driven from people, information, and technology. At StratusLIVE, we go beyond the technology (implementation of the system) and place a high priority on helping your staff through this transition.  We believe the keys to making a change successful are increased communication/dialogue and peer-to-peer accountability.  We help you understand how your staff views, understands, reacts to and ultimately gets through the change process. We help you ensure your entire organization has the same framework and uses the same language as they become a more change adaptive culture.  

We may not be able to fully prepare for another COVID-19, but leaders can utilize the VUCA framework to better respond to crises or challenges. After classifying these challenges, organizations can implement successful change management practices that align with the specific type of challenge they face. Ultimately, if your staff becomes comfortable being uncomfortable, they may more easily adapt to change in the future.

Posted by Kelly Perry

Kelly Perry is a Digital Marketing Manager, Nonprofit Solutions at StratusLIVE. She has over eight years marketing and communications experience within nonprofit technology and the publishing industries.