Dynamic Change Management in COVID Times!
An unexpected turn in 2020. It all started with news about the virus being found in china and whoever thought then, it would come so close to all of us that we hear about a minimum one case or more having impacted in our social circle, COVID ended up coming so close and everything changed before we even got the time to process this change, leaving no choice but to flow with all the rules, the new norms & the new normal!
Let’s dwell a bit on how within the last 4 months, our everyday life got impacted and changed, leaving little or no control over us to respond or react to it. In the later part, let’s discuss how this unpredictable dynamic change has impacted organizations and the role of the organization in dealing with this unprecedented change.
Dynamic Change Management- COVID Impacting us!
Pick up any of the words from the image on the right & we all can relate to this and talk about it now it has impacted our lives in so many different and individual ways and yet we are all in this together! How lost we feel with the uncertainty leading to more stress & how we all have come to realize the strength of support from family
An important thing to talk about! How we all are impacted?
All virtual interaction!
No more meeting people, feeling the human connection, catching on to those non-verbal cues, and understanding without much being said and expressed. The virtual world has become a new reality& “Can you hear me”, “Am I audible”, “Can you see my screen”, and “Can you please mute yourself” are the new language now!
Bond with Family
Undoubtedly all of those living with family developed a stronger and deeper bond, understanding each other’s needs and mood swings and always being around each other has got back the unity of a family. For those who lived alone, some got the opportunity to go back to their families and spend time and some did not. In either case, the bond strengthened and family will never be taken for granted and the belief that we have each other’s back just got stronger! (I would like to believe so)
Understanding thy self
While all these years we have been running around, one thing which COVID got us is more self-awareness, to reflect on all those things we were chasing and were even important? Some time to reflect on our priorities, going back to our goals, our little hobbies which were probably being ignored when life was Normal! Some definitely got the time to know themselves better & which has been a boon for many.
Feeling more responsible
The lockdown has made us realize the importance of actually appreciating the things and people that we take for granted, but what it has taught us is the spirit of togetherness and giving a helping hand to others where one can.
COVID Impacting Organizations
The pandemic has challenged organizations to look at their enterprise and employees in a new profound way. Within a short span of time, there has been a lot of change in the Business plan and re-evaluation of strategy. To deal with an expected dynamic change is challenging for organizations, in the current situation dealing with forced change management along with it being virtual can get even harder.
Organizations dealing with Change
There is no time for Change Management during a pandemic. The rush to a major change of remote working may not have been the change most companies wanted, it was the change, they got & they embraced it gladly to survive.
Any change management plan would consider the impact of change on the following 4 elements of the organization before implementing it:
- People and Culture
- Technology and Tools
In the case of Covid-19, there simply wasn’t time for any form of a change management project, but there is time to dynamic change how we manage the situation now. While some leaders and organizations have been successful in dealing with change and some are still struggling and finding their way up.
A lot of Organizations have adapted to Dynamic Change Management in recent times and some even have an internal task force just catering to that, now was the time to see whether such teams were able to effectively deal with this unpredictable change.
A Testing Time for Organizations!
Let’s take a look at the change management process and stages as described by Kubler Ross
Adapting to Kubler Ross Dynamic Change Curve Model.
Stage 1 describes fear and anxiety as COVID started spreading and became an everyday headline with the no of cases just rising. There was anxiety and stress for all our close ones. Also, the news on lockdown, which kept being extended led to a stage that got us thinking about when will we be allowed to go out. It’s a sudden push back on our free will causing frustration and leading to the next stage of resistance.
At Exploration Stage, one tries to find meaning from the situation and makes an effort to experiment & adapt to it. Some internal dialogues are:
- I understand COVID-19 realities
- Am I cognizant about all the process changes happening in my firm
- I can WFH and am empowered with tools/support
At the Commitment stage, the dialogues are more of readiness and adaptation to the situation like
- I’m totally in to invest my time & effort in learning new
- I’m keen to serve communities
- I’d like to innovate my ways of working
Along with the economy being hit and business getting impacted, organizations also had the responsibility to cater to the softer aspect of mental health and well-being of their employees, while also ensuring productivity and effectiveness at work. Organizations need to make efforts to pull their employees from the “Valley of Despair”.The need for the hour is for leaders and managers to focus “inside and then the outside” Even though disruptions are challenging, it offers the leaders and opportunity to transform their organization with progressive leadership strategies and some have very successfully got on that path. Several organizations have made counselling helplines and wellness sessions available to employees and their families, which is a great initiative, to begin with!
Read More about Agility of Change Management: How to Handle Change
7 Ideas to Begin- Dynamic Change Management!
We Will list down a few that are though very simplistic but extremely crucial & have a significant impact on employees.
1. Tell it like it is!
Maintain transparency and openness in communication.
2. Talk about the Hard stuff
It’s okay to be scared and vulnerable, talk to your team about that. Share the vulnerability and fears that you are experiencing as well and also share the light that you see at the end of the tunnel and help your employees see it too. You will not have all the answers always, it’s okay to admit that, will build a culture of trust in the organization. Involve employees & encourage them to share their opinion and feedback
3. Assuring and then Re-Assuring
Avoid talking to your team about motivation just because you are asked to do that. Say it when you feel it and it will reach the team.
4. Mandatory breaks& Flexible Shifts Frequent Check-ins
How are you feeling? The best time to tell your employees and yourself that your physical and mental health is more crucial than any work that is due. We all have come to realize, the most important metric for an employee is their productivity & not the amount of time they spend or when do they log in or log out of the system. Empower them to take decisions. Allow flexibility, the results will show
5. Talk Work!
Solidify purposeful, transparent & timely rounding feedback. Align performance expectations to avoid losing momentum on the work ahead
6. Best Time to Look at Traditional Old Processes and Change it
If you still have a traditional way of approaching issues, identify those, empower employees to proactively take steps, and ask for feedback and suggestions from them. This is the best time to re-look at traditional processes and make it more streamlined& tech-driven to accomplish the ultimate goal of efficiency
7. Appreciate Efforts & Build your Culture around it
Now is probably the best time for Organizations to re-look at the culture, to define new archetypes, to show that the organizations have not only defined its values but also stands by it.
It’s not in your To-do list of activities to be there for your team members, to support them, and to appreciate them. Do it wholeheartedly and the message will reach them and they won’t ever forget the support and care that you gave them when they needed it the most. It bubbles down to the energy collaborated between people, process & technology. While you take care of your employees, don’t forget to take care of yourself too!