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Six ways to shape lasting change for 2023 and beyond

By Mariet Visser, coach, trainer and co-founder of We Do Change

In a corporate environment, creating lasting change is crucial if managers want to maintain sustainable growth.

Lasting change is essentially modifications that are widely accepted by and fully integrated into the organisational culture and processes, resulting in a new status quo. Not only does it ensure that the business remains consistent in their processes and management structure, but lasting change also provides for a constant review of how you approach and prepare to tackle challenges.

Here are six invaluable tips on how businesses can do exactly that during this year:

1. Stay abreast of technology

The business and economic landscape is constantly evolving, fuelled by a growing emphasis on digital transformation and globalisation. Added to this are the needs and expectations of your customer, which are also changing with the pace of technology. To remain relevant and retain a competitive edge, organisations must adapt and respond as quickly and efficiently as possible to meet the fast-paced changes that come with living in an interconnected world. 

2. Be deliberate and measured

Approach change in phases or incrementally, rather than all at once. This will lessen the shock and not overwhelm the organisation and its people, thus mitigating the likelihood of change fatigue. Lasting change is more likely to be sustainable if the changes that have been introduced are accepted and adopted by the people in your organisation. This will help create a sense of positivity and excitement, which in turn can lead to increased performance and talent retention.

Remember to regularly reflect on the changes so as to refine and adjust where necessary, ensuring that they are sustainable and achieving the desired results.

 3. Avoid a culture shock 

The last few years have presented us with unprecedented and unusual challenges, leading to a fundamental shift in our working habits and lifestyle. Many businesses have embraced the convenience of remote work, but it is now crucial that we pause and reflect on its effects, as we understand and evolve our ways of working. Organisations will require a fresh collaborative approach to employee engagement, fostering connection and a sense of belonging, to accommodate these shifts.  

4. Adopt a safe-to-fail manner

Lasting change can be established by gaining agreement on the opportunities for improvement, brainstorming small yet measurable experiments to achieve the desired results and executing such experiments in a safe-to-fail manner. 

These essentially small experiments that are tested in a low risk-controlled environment will reduce the chance of fear holding us back from trying and not getting it right the first time around. Once an idea has been tested and possibly enhanced through the testing process, applying this to a larger portion of the organisation will be easier, as people will already know what potential results to expect from adopting this change.

5. Don’t leave anyone out

We already know that communication is key when implementing any form of change but so too are the people in an organisation. People want to know they have job security and opportunities to upskill and train, so they have the necessary capabilities to effectively implement and adopt the changes.

People in the organisation play a crucial role in the success of lasting changes so make sure you are communicating to all stakeholders, including employees, customers and partners, who may either be affected by the change or have influence over it. Clarity in the process creates certainty, which aids in people embarking on the change.

6. Lead by example 

Not doing so will severely impact the change becoming lasting or make it short-lived. Effective leadership can help to build buy-in, create a transparent and shared vision for the change and thus drive successful implementation and adoption. To achieve lasting and impactful change, it is imperative to take people on the journey, connect them with the why and involve them in the how. 

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