The frequency and pace of change continue to accelerate as organizations modernize to revolutionary business models, technology and global competition. Organizational change is a process that begins with the conception of an idea, moves through planning and implementation and finally to a 'go-live' moment of fruition. It can be adaptive or transformative, and it is becoming a near-constant in contemporary businesses of any industry. Therefore, leaders must manage change, including implementing new company infrastructures, core missions, core offerings, markets, internal processes and even business models.
The rate at which businesses evolve and adapt puts a premium on hiring and promoting talent with the skills to manage change well. Somewhere between 47% and 58% of companies now need to reinvent themselves every three years or fewer. Yet, even with this focus, 50% of all organizational change initiatives are unsuccessful. The onus for changing these statistics may rest with professionals choosing to prepare themselves outside a shifting organization.
A Program that Prepares Students to Provide Change Management Leadership
Northern Kentucky University's online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management program features two courses with a focus on building organizational leadership and change management skills:
- Behavior in Organizations: Understanding Organizational Life provides an overview of the complex organizational, group and individual processes. The coursework provides a foundation for understanding the workings of contemporary business organizations, and it's a course that every aspiring leader should have the opportunity to take. Students explore the dynamics and learn the crucial concepts, theories, processes and skills suggested by research that motivate effective planning, organizing, interacting and leading.
- Leadership and Change trains students to identify and assess competencies and values relevant to leadership. Students reflect on their development during the program and implement lifelong learning plans for acquiring future competencies. The objective is to emerge ready to contribute to change management plans.
Change Management Success Factors
Throughout the B.S. in Business Administration program, students explore best practices for sustainable success in business and change management. As an introduction to the concept, here are four of the fundamental steps you will likely contribute to as an organizational change leader:
Cultural Preparation: Before consensus buy-in can occur, there must first be understanding and agreement on the reasons for change. Leaders at every level are responsible for raising awareness of the impetus for change, the outcomes of a potential success and the possible consequences of failure to change.
Training professionals to be good communicators is critical. Communication must take place across a variety of channels to both reach and convince the target audience. People generally resist change, with an attitude that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." This attitude misses a key point: change must only occur when necessary, which is retroactive rather than preventative.
Creation of the Vision and Plan: Like creating a business plan, making a change management plan involves the following details: strategic goals, expected outcomes, key performance indicators, projects, project scopes, teams, stakeholders and systems of accountability. Leaders should also develop contingency plans when unknown factors could derail projects, so visionary leaders must also possess flexibility and foresight.
All Systems Go: Change management often fails at the lowest organizational levels, where front-line employees are unsure of their roles and daily contributions to the plan. They also may lack motivation without an understanding of "What's in it for me?". Upon graduation from an advanced business administration program, you may manage front-line personnel and will need to ensure they receive training. In addition, they must have adequate time and resources to get to their routine work and complete change management projects on time.
Integration and Alignment of Projects: Initial plans may lack the required specifics for complete organizational integration as the process evolves. Effective change management leaders at all levels work collaboratively with and across project teams, as well as with other leaders to align plans and provide higher level direction. Integrating project management with change management improves the likelihood of achieving objectives by 17%.
Businesses cannot afford to fail at change management, especially when it is necessary every three years. To succeed, they must source properly trained leaders who are ready to step in and implement time-tested approaches. Therefore, enrolling in an degree program that prepares you for change management leadership is just as crucial to your future employers as it is to you.
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