Change agility is not just a buzzword. It’s a competency that is crucial in not just keeping up but also getting ahead. An agile workplace and team are equipped to deal effectively with challenges and create a productive and positive work environment.
Change is constant and organic. But learning to accept change is the key factor for thriving in the modern workplace. This sense of adaptability is also known as “change agility.” It means seeing change as an ongoing opportunity, not as a threat or liability.
To evolve change management for today’s unpredictable, fast-moving world, we need to think about change differently, and also act differently.
First Off, We Need to Change How We Think about Change. We can’t predict the unpredictable, and we can’t manage the unmanageable. Therefore, the notion of “change management” needs a complete overhaul–from a top-down, management process to a human-centered discipline.
We cannot think of change as a one-time project that we have to manage, instead, as a continuous activity. Change management has to be constant, embedded in every action and every interaction, not a separate standalone process.
Bringing Change Agility to Life
Change Agility is the way forward for responding to and adapting change in ways that drive the business and workforce outcomes which are critical for an organization to survive and thrive through any change.
The onus of change agility is not on HR alone. Leaders on the ground drive the change, HR plays the role of the navigation system constantly relaying the best path forward, and HR and leaders collectively own the responsibility
We may foster change agility in the workplace by pursuing the following strategies:-
- Focus on continuous learning- Few people readily embrace change and the associated pains and discomforts associated with it. A continuous learning mindset helps us to reframe the discomfort of change. It empowers our minds to adapt more readily to new challenges. Continuous learning also provides us with the skills needed to thrive in a new, changed environment.
- Resilience building- Resilience is essential to change agility. It reflects not only our ability to deal with unanticipated disruptions or sudden shifts but also facilitates bouncing back and focusing on potential opportunities. Resilience takes a holistic view, balancing the short- and long-term challenges and gains to remain committed and focused on achieving the goal.
- Build emotional intelligence- Emotional intelligence (EI) prepares us to embrace change rather than resist it. We build the skills to reflect on our feelings and question any reluctance we might feel. With greater self-awareness, we can better regulate our emotional response and instead take a practical perspective. Emotionally intelligent individuals own their role in a situation. With EI, we can understand how attitude might impact the change initiative and work to reframe outlook to a more positive point of view.
- Promote experimentation- As we lean into a culture and mindset of continuous learning, we simultaneously promote and support ongoing experimentation through organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Far too often, organizations actually inadvertently thwart experimentation and innovation because of the embedded organizational systems and legacy. A continuous and planned experimentation based on the voices of the employees helps us to create a more welcoming and inclusive organization.
- Prioritize psychological safety- An extension of promoting experimentation is fostering psychological safety in the team. People need to know that they are not only allowed but actively encouraged to speak up, challenge assumptions, push back on the status quo, and try new initiatives that are outside of the traditional box of understanding. This is the space where true innovation can occur—when people can see and foster new conceptual and practical connections. If people feel like they are in a psychologically unsafe environment, they will tend toward safety and keep those ideas to themselves.
- Develop change leaders– In order to shift the embedded mindsets, culture, and systems in the organization, we need to evolve and grow in our own change leadership capacity, as well as actively develop change agents among the members of the team. Everyone should see themselves as an agent for sustainable change and can create this expectation to hold each other mutually accountable. As the organizational change leadership capacity increases, employee buy-in increases throughout the organization making it more agile and ready for impending changes coming its way.
- Communicate change objectives clearly- Providing information about the change makes a big difference. People typically respond more positively to changes that they expect and understand. Be transparent not only about coming change but also the reasons for the change. Communicate in advance, too. Giving people time to reflect on the change, ask questions, and express their opinions can help with change adoption.
Change is a challenge, there is no doubt about it. But it doesn’t need to be as hard as we often make it. As we develop our organization’s capacity for change by promoting change agility and change readiness, we can grow our own and the team’s change competencies and capabilities.
Through focusing on continual learning, experimentation, psychological safety, and change leadership, we can grow and maximize the organization’s potential to stay competitive and continually add value to the market and society holistically.