Drivers of organizational change.
When trying to influence organizational change, you have to first understand why you are trying to influence it. Some good reasons are social influence or responding to an action (Marsden and Friedkin, 1993), sustaining a healthy environment (Newman, 2012), improving understanding, or simply trying to remain relevant to the industry or consumer.
As an entrepreneur, I always find myself having to create organizational change every few years. As technology advances, so must I and my business. In determining whether or not it is time for a change, we look at factors such as a drop in sales, website traffic, or lack of consumer interest. Even without those negative impacts, we must still create change so that we can remain above change. A majority of the changes we make consist around guesswork and market predictions. Sometimes it plays out well and we remain on top or within the industry’s new standards, or we make the wrong decision and are stuck trying to catch-up with the market.
What I have found to be my most effective reason for change is listening to the consumer. We must make it a priority to hear their desires, compliments and complaints. Focus on what they like, what they want more of, and what they want less of. Even if the industry is headed in one direct and the consumer in another, I have found that following the consumer’s change request is more beneficial to the organization.
Fortunately, most of my business is done online and through websites. Technology has easily allowed my company the opportunity to test the reactions of the customers toward the changes. Because of a majority of the business being done online, there are a multitude of tools that we use to track their reactions as they navigate throughout the web pages. Positive reactions create positive sales, and negative reactions create negative sales.
Organizational change should always be driving in a forward direction, else it’s going backward or is standing still. Neither or which is good for long-term business success.
The keys to successful organizational change.
Successful organizational change begins with making sure that change is a priority. Being able to implement and continually set goals will prepare for course correction. These goals should include strategic planning along with setting deadlines and leadership roles (Newman, 2012).
My most successful changes have come from simply asking the consumer what they thought of the changes and whether or not they were needed. Survey’s, rewards, and discounts are a great incentive for the consumer and an opportunity for me to hear directly from the persons who the changes are being made for. In the beginning of my career, I would spend weeks or months trying to guess what the consumer wanted and it wasn’t until I decided to ask them, that I was able to implement the most affective changes.
In order to get to that point of being able to listen to the consumer, I had to research, study, test, analyze and be open to understanding their wants. What I concluded was that organizational change is never going to satisfy everyone. If I tested too much, I would only get more confused by the multitude of reactions and suggestions. Change is only a piece of the solution. What’s equally as important is persuasion of public convincing (Battliana and Casciaro, 2012).
If the leader successfully sustains and oversees the process, the result will be a functional and sustainable transformation of the organization.
Battliana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2012). Change agents, networks, and institutions: A contingency theory of organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(2), 381-398.
Marsden, P. V., & Friedkin, N. E. 1993. Network studies of social influence. Sociological Methods and Research, 22: 127–151.
Newman, J. (2012). An organizationally change management framework for sustainability.Greener Management International, 57, 65-75.
Dr. Elijah Clark (November 8, 2014). Organization Change in Business [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://elijahclark.com/organization-change-business/