Top tips for noticing upcoming changes in organizations
It’s always interesting to hear people discuss the question “How do we manage change?” Organizational change presents a constant concern for leaders. In fact, the question of change brings up the idea that change is often something that is suddenly out of control and uncontrollable.
This is the business and organizational reality; change is a part of growth in organizations and in life. In fact, change is happening constantly. You can find ways to measure this change so it doesn’t happen by surprise. Here are some important basics to help you recognize issues related to change and change management.
The first concept is that organizations are “open systems.” That means they are part of the world around them and are open to influences from the world around them. Recognizing changes for organizations means being aware of what is happening both outside and inside the organization.
An open system is influenced by both internal and external forces. Internal forces can be controlled from within the organization, while external forces affect the organization but cannot be controlled by the organization.
The internal forces that affect any organization include its products or service lines, leadership and management structures, policies and procedures, human resources, marketing strategies, and operations. These are directly controlled by the organization’s leadership and must be influenced by external changes.
Some external forces include political, economic, financial, educational, and social changes that directly affect the organization’s industry, location, product, people, and stakeholders.
Both internal and external forces can be observed and monitored to predict, to the best of the ability of the organization’s leaders, the impacts that any change in these forces will have on the organization. For example, if politicians change a law that directly affects how your industry exchanges goods and services, this will change the organization’s internal operations. If gasoline and oil prices rise and the income levels of people who buy cars remain relatively the same, the auto industry will need to make adjustments to respond to the needs and economic situation of the buying market.
All parts of a system must work in harmony for maximum efficiency. Change is often distorted in organizations because the effects of that change on various departments are often overlooked. In other words, change in one area of the organization has a ripple effect in other areas. Let’s say, for example, that marketing decides that products need to be shipped faster to increase customer service. The marketing department creates marketing materials that promise faster shipping. However, the shipping department is the one that has to make the shipments faster. They need to inform the marketing department whether or not faster shipping is possible. This also means looking at the production department to see if products are available faster on a regular basis. It also includes accounting and, of course, human resources. In other words, every part of the organization system must be involved in a change for it to be effective.
Society influences changes in the desires of your target market. It is important to look at how society influences the clothing purchases of people in your target market group. While your business offers a particular type of product or service, you need to ensure that you engage in a contemporary way with the rapidly changing ideas of what’s in or out for your target market group. For example, if you are targeting young people, you will have to constantly change your inventory to keep up with their changing interests. Some companies fail to make the switch quickly enough at prices that match the purchasing power of their target group.
Keep your finger on the pulse point of the consumer market. In other words, keep looking out to bring new ideas in. Host focus group meetings of people in your target market or let consumers “touch” your products. Companies that set up stations that allow people to try their products have a way of conducting real-time research by watching reactions and seeing what keeps people coming back. Even in self-service industries, the company’s sales staff can be trained to ask more questions about the consumer’s buying interests and wants.
Change is going to happen because the world will never stop. Creating systems to collect information is an important and basically simple way to stay informed about the changes that are coming your way. Awareness of change takes place at all levels of the organization. You can move from simple data collection and awareness systems to more complex forms of forecasting to ensure that you are controlling change rather than being controlled by it.