Most organizations seek help from external consultants to identify, recommend, and implement changes. When considering why entities will rope in these experts, it is obtained that they do so to gain independent perspectives on what areas require change and how that can be achieved. Some companies such as Shell or BP have relied on external stakeholders to help with management programs. By so doing, they have relatively succeeded in their efforts as revealed in how they transform in the marketplace. On the contrary, it is not always apparent that help in the change process produces the best results. Despite soliciting help from external consultants, some groups fail in efforts to change business processes and market outlook. Major factors play a role in achieving transitions, including cooperation from top management, and the entire leadership must gear the change process initiated (Shalamanov, 2017). Moreover, information sharing is paramount, which means informing strengths and weaknesses to external consultants. The purpose of the paper is to address change management strategies that can be adopted.
Change Management Strategies for External Consultants
Ideally, change management models and concocts have existed since the period 1980s. Some theories and practices associated with the change process grew partly to help respond to technology and innovations. To remain competitive in the market, people and organizations have had to adapt to change. Throughout the 2000s period, change management theories involved are an excellent way to implement a transformation. Concepts such as lean and agile have been employed, and consultants are integrated to help advise on the best techniques. With that, there are management strategies that might be available for consultants brought to an organization externally.
First, consultants can clearly define change and align it with business goals. In most cases, it is perceived obvious that shift needs to be defined, but most entities miss this key approach. Articulating needed change is one thing and conducting critical reviews against the objectives of a company is another. The latter is essential to ensure a transformation carries the business on the right path strategically, ethically, and financially. The method can help to determine values of change by quantifying effort and inputs to invest in (Simao and Franco, 2018). In that way, external consultants will approach the situation, asking what needs to be changed and why that is essential.
Second, external consultants can employ an approach of assessing who is affected by the change and impacts. Once what needs to be achieved is realized, it is crucial to examine the effects at various organizational levels. Consultants will review the impact on each business unit and see how it cascades through the structure to the individual. Such information forms a blueprint for where reinforcements such as training and support are required the most. The business and people involved must be comfortable with change, such that consultants will help identify struggles. Although the culture might not facilitate needed transformations, issues with organizational stricture may not facilitate change (Skogland and Hansen, 2017). Moreover, the work of consultants is to remind them that change can influence employees’ morale and everyone in the departments.
Lastly, external consultants can adopt a communication plan to communicate issues within the organization. The initiative is vital to inform reasons and benefits for change and bring key stakeholders on board. The formulated plan would include a timeline for how changes will be communicated, key messages, and channels or mediums to use. Through communication, consultants will shift the burden of change, especially in a radical or transformative context (Sætren and Laumann, 2017). Instead of burdening top management or coercing workers to accept initiatives, the weight shifts to employees who find themselves in the confines of a new entity.
Critically, bringing in external consultants in change management would come with many benefits since these professionals are independent players, contrary to internal advisors who may depend on their leaders. Such could result in trust issues while strategic change demands an inquisitive and solid approach- a role fulfilled by external advisors. Due to past experiences of what has worked or failed in other businesses, external consultants can regularly draw techniques for managing change from broader perspectives (Shalamanov, 2017). Primarily, the ability to benchmark concerning other parties is advantageous.
Differences in Overcoming Resistance to Change
In overcoming change resistance, involving external stakeholders incur significant differences through initiatives they bring to insight by-ins through process consultation. Ideally, resistance to change I inevitably, and advisors know this too well. Once clients accept recommendations and look to implement them, it is time to focus on change management by working with the executive team to establish the reason for the change. Senior leadership needs to align on the vision behind the change, the drivers, and how transformation leads to future success (Capelle, 2017). Dictating employees would likely make them less to buy into changes, but when they are excited to feel necessary for transformation, change is welcomed (Simao and Franco, 2018, 262). External advisors will meet with senior leaders to establish when or where to meet resistance and solicit ideas to counter the problem.
After determining the primary reason for the change, external consultants discuss with senior leaders to learn more about departments and teams to help craft an effective change management plan. For talented optimized entities, this approach is a crucial opportunity to leverage personal data, behavioral information, job performance, engagement survey results, and team dynamics. In looking at the organization as a whole, or individual departments, engagement surveys, and data will point to invaluable insights (Shaw, 2017, 4). Data about the highest or lowest engagement is leveraged to know where resistance is likely to occur. Thereafter, communication is made early and often tailored to the audience. In communicating about change in the organizational structure, external advisors will guide clients to reference their people date establish the best messaging possible (Skogland and Hansen, 2017, 13). Understating employees’ needs is paramount, and tailoring conversation to the audience will make transformation more digestible for those involved.
Where the change is introduced, usually some forces drive it, and others oppose it. For better implementation, organization management should analyze change forces, and selectively remove opposing elements that resist change. As resistance is reduced, behaviors shits to incorporate desired transformations.
One major approach to changing individuals and a new culture is through organizational development (OD) (Awashreh, 2019, 2). Devoted to large-scale changes, OD focuses majorly on people processes and behavioral aspects. However, OD has evolved into a broader approach, more recently, encompassing areas such as organizational theory, social or technical change, and strategy development.
An organizational development approach is used to create policies for an ongoing change and applies behavioral knowledge to developing strategies. The goal is to change people and the quality of their relationships. Therefore, OD aims to foster cooperation, eliminate conflicts, induce motivations, improve decision-making, and develop mutual trust, and open communication lines. The context of OD involves consultants, surveys, and training to make changes better for the organization (Awashreh, 2019, 3). The concept of OD is effective because it draws knowledge from a wide range of well-established theories. Examples of these models include system, contingency, and complexity theory.
For a successful change, organizations must view organizations as open-minded systems that interact with their surroundings to survive. The system theory approach can make change possible by integrating all the components to counter resistance (Sætren and Laumann, 2017, 5). Normally, organizations depend on environments for essential resources, including workers who provide labor or management. The crucial role played by external consultants and managers is to help entities adjust and adapt to changes within the defined environments.
On the contrary, there may be complexities within the system regarding planning, communication, and opportunities. In such cases, managers have to employ continually evolving strategies that respond to changing circumstances. The central component of complexity theory in management is recognizing that transformation within organizations is non-linear in that it can be unpredictable, unstable, and erratic. Such can happen due to relationships and interaction processes for ever-changing system components (Sætren and Laumann, 2017, 10). Thus, during the change process in an organization, managers and the team must acknowledge emerging patterns or business trends and adjust the company’s plan accordingly. Another relevant model in change management is the contingency theory which assumes that there is no universal answer to questions raised since organizations, situations, and people might vary over time. Response to questions such as whether to centralize or decentralize, or adopt a tall or flat structure depends on a complex variety of internal contingencies.
In summary, in change management facilitated by organization design and developments, insights from external advisors are paramount. Consultants support transformations by being involved in educating ways to develop change plans, and design strategies, and enable the key player in implementing proposed modifications. Communication is mainly stressed to inform stakeholders such as employees where change is coming from and how they will be impacted.
Awashreh, R. (2019) ‘Critique for organization development.’ International Journal of Law and Politics Studies, 1(1), pp. 1-4.
Capelle, R.G. (2017) ‘Improving organization performance by optimizing organization design.’ People & Strategy, 40(2), pp. 26-32.
Sætren, G.B. and Laumann, K. (2017) ‘Organizational change management theories and safety–A critical review.’ Safety Science Monitor, 20(1), pp.1-10.
Shalamanov, V. (2017) ‘Institution building for IT governance and management.’ Information & Security, 38, pp.13-34. Web.
Shaw, D. (2017) ‘Managing people and learning in organizational change projects.’ Journal of Organizational Change Management, 30(6), pp.923-935.
Simao, L. and Franco, M. (2018) ‘External knowledge sources as antecedents of organizational innovation in firm workplaces: a knowledge-based perspective.’ Journal of Knowledge Management, 22(2), pp. 237-256. Web.
Skogland, M.A.C. and Hansen, G.K. (2017) ‘Change your space, change your culture: exploring spatial change management strategies.’ Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 19 (2), pp. 95-110. Web.