Can there be “too much change”?

Earlier this month, Vice President of Operations, Leela Gill and Chief Technology Officer, Billy Williams hosted a webinar on best practices for change management in P2P automation. A participant asked a question that resonated with us and reflects an underlying concern found in many corporations.

How do you avoid getting into a permanent change management environment? Can there be too much change?

The underlying worry embodied in this question is that, as a leader, if you are constantly changing, are you creating an environment of instability? Well, the answer is “it depends”. But first, let’s step back and talk about change.

When it comes to self-improvement, change can be exciting and empowering, as TED Talk speaker, Jim Hemerling, states, because the change comes from within you.  In setting your personal goals – perhaps to win a race or lose weight – you get excited about that change because you understand the benefits as it relates to you.

But when the change comes from your boss, all of a sudden, it can become scary. Why? Historically organizations have used the word “transformation” to be a surrogate for “layoffs” and people start to fear losing their jobs. Leaders need to address that concern and alleviate it because, in the era of process automation and robotic programming, change management is here to stay.

Futurist, Bill Jensen, states that how we work will change more in the next 20 years than in the past 2,000 years, but that should not scare us; it should energize us. Leaders need to create a paradigm shift where employees are expecting constant change in the form of process improvement and personal development.

During the webinar, participants were asked “what is the biggest barrier in your company to successful change management?” the overwhelming response was “After the meeting ends, the debate begins”. Politics, fear, and lack of information are the real barriers to change. These are common hurdles every leader needs to address in order to get employees excited about process improvement. Project teams are met by passive resistance because the long-term vision and corporate goals are not clearly communicated. If employees don’t understand how they fit into the bigger picture and how they will grow within the company, office politics and a culture of “no” halt progress.

To overcome this barrier, leaders must present an inspiring vision and align employees around compelling goals. Without clear alignment and transparency, employees will not understand the benefits and motivations behind the change.

With all of this in mind, if done properly, the answer to the question “can there be too much change?” is no. To quote our presenters, “Continuous improvement is always very healthy.” The vision to become more efficient, maintain a competitive advantage, and make processes easier for employees and customers should be inspiring to your teams. To achieve more with less resources is always meaningful, productive and positive for your organization. By using effective communication techniques, setting a realistic time frame, and ensuring your employees will benefit too, your organization can remove the human barriers to change management and set the stage for an environment of constant continuous improvement.

For more information on implementing change management in your organization, read our blog post or watch the full webinar. Contact us to learn about how Direct Commerce facilitates transformational change for our customers through supplier onboarding.