Why is it difficult to make improvements in an organization? What’s needed to overcome barriers to implementing change?
In my own company we recently launched an initiative to improve our internal processes.
There was no getting around it. Launching the initiative added to our employees’ workload. We’ve all taken on more activity while continuing to do our work serving our customers.
We weren’t surprised. We knew extra effort would be required to analyze existing practices as we set out to re-design and then deliver them.
When we started, we acknowledged this change process would not immediately bear fruit. But we committed to making the change and we committed to doing the ground work because we understood that it would help us better meet the needs of our customers. We took the time to consider why the change was needed and how the impact would be meaningful.
As CEO, I knew that getting the right foundation in place would be essential for this change initiative to deliver good value. I knew from years of experience working with our 360 Energy customers, that a change in thinking and a change in practice meant more effort at the outset.
Implementing energy management is change management. Any time an organization embraces change, it has to plan for some additional start up effort. It needs to anticipate and identify potential difficulties. Executives need to be aware of the ambiguity and anxiety staff can experience while new processes are put in place. A core requirement of improving energy practices in a company is to embrace and respond to these challenges.
Every corporate change requires a champion. Buy-in from the executive team is always necessary from the outset.
The vision for a new initiative needs to be clearly articulated. When employees understand the value and the goal they are far more willing to take on additional effort.
Continual communication across functional silos must be established. Teams of employees will be engaged to deliver any improvement initiative. Building relationships between company team members is always one of the hidden benefits of implementing sustainable energy projects.
Champions. Clarity. Communication.
These are three requirements for successfully managing corporate change.