How managers help themselves and others embrace organisational change

By 30th September 2015 Testing

A few pointers on surviving the roller-coaster ride that is business

The age of the monolithic company is over. The currents of time have that eroded to the ground, and what’s left is the ever-shifting quicksand that ambitious teams have to build their brands upon.

Adapting to the new landscape of business is critical for the organisation’s survival. However change is difficult to face on a personal level, let alone as a team, and people—notably managers—instinctively try to resist it.

There are many things which managers have to deal with in order to help their teams keep up with change.

Besides the fact that there different areas where change can happen, there are also different tools and mechanisms that have to be mastered first before you can begin to move from the present to you future goals.

In this blog post I’ll take a quick look at the five most important areas of change that affect the organisation, how managers can get their people to agree to change, and what it takes to help team members learn how to respond to change more autonomously.

Change is the only constant in the organisation

There many areas where change happens. We could zoom out as far as the global economy and discuss change there, or zoom in as closely as a single team member’s changes in mood at any given time and explore how that impacts team work.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll mention the top 5 most practical change areas which you need to watch out for:

  1. Market changes – Your users’ needs and expectations shift continually in response to their lifestyles and their exposure to competing products;
  2. Technology changes – New bugs are unearthed, new fixes rolled out, new versions released. It really needs no explanation, but I can’t stress how important it is to stay on top of the latest technology changes in your industry and how they impact your work;
  3. Deadline changes – Whether it’s because there isn’t enough money or not enough patience by the people involved, you need to prioritise all the time so that whatever happens you always know what’s next and never miss a beat;
  4. Requirement changes – This may happen due to external pressure to please egos or because your team found an objectively better way to do things. No matter the cause, when requirements change you need to communicate the fact quickly to everyone involved so that the team doesn’t lose its focus;
  5. People changes – Volatile financial situations and the ability to work for anyone, anywhere, means that organisations experience faster churn of employees. A company culture that helps new team members find their footing in the shortest time possible is essential to keep productivity levels steady.

Getting your people on board

The vital ingredient in getting people on the same page (and keeping them there) is being able to motivate them to do so without feeling that they’ve been forced against their wishes.

Before team members can be persuaded to change, they must first accept and convince themselves that this will be in their best personal and professional interests.

This kind of persuasion shouldn’t involve manipulation or deception. Instead it lets people take control of when and how they make the change, and gives them the opportunity to question, vent, make suggestions, and experiment with the new paradigm.

The manager’s role is to coach people into making the transition by encouraging them to process it and internalise it without criticism or punishment.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the success built this way is a success that every person can own at an individual level, which in turn gives them the confidence to tackle change more effectively and faster in the future.

You need the latest technology to stay relevant in the face of change

Technology can make or break your company. It will also determine how well you can hold up against change and if you’re able to turn it into an opportunity or let things slide into chaos.

ReQtest is a bug-tracking, test and requirements management tool trusted by thousands of testing teams around the world to help them stay on top of their projects and quickly respond to changes in requirements and deadlines.

You can give ReQtest a try today—completely free—by signing up a 10-day trial that gives you the chance to invite your team members and check out all its features.

(No credit cards. No obligation. No hassle.)

Encouraging a culture of learning and improvement

The last point mentioned in the previous section is the key to building a self-organising team that can adapt fluidly to the various changes I mentioned earlier.

A company culture with well-defined goals, objectives, values and beliefs that are held dearly by people at all levels of the organisation can help any team weather successfully the most radical changes.

To achieve this level of buy-in throughout the organisation, managers need to put in extra effort to ensuring that a consistent message is being communicated to team members in speech and in action.

The quality of communication is the definitive litmus test to find out if a company is well-equipped to face organisational changes effectively. It’s both the means to transmit the values that give people a point of reference, as well as to alert them to the changes they need to adjust to.

Despite all the bad rap, when managed correctly change stimulates growth and bring positive energy to your organisation.

Wrap-up

  • Adapting to the new landscape of business is critical for the organisation’s survival;
  • The top 5 most practical change areas which you need to watch out for: market, tech, deadlines, requirements, and people;
  • The manager’s role is to coach people how to deal with change;
  • When managed correctly change stimulates growth;
  • Technology determines how well you can hold up against change and if you’re able to turn it into an opportunity.

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