A stakeholder could be an investor, employee or client. When it comes to operational change, your primary stakeholders are your employees. They are the ones who will have to adjust to what is different. Executive teams that disregard the employee stakeholders will most likely face failure. After all, most all change fails.
People naturally gravitate to stasis or to the routine. If you disrupt the routine and the process you take away security for some. Even if the change is remarkable, improves profit and efficiency it may not matter to your employee stakeholders. At the end of the day, the employee cares about their world, their productivity and meaningful work. Employees are key stakeholders.
Change requires more than a great idea. It requires a clear vision and most importantly – champions. If you cannot identify multiple champions for change, then you will most likely fail in your efforts. Change is no longer a one-time event. It is continual. As a leader, you need every possible competency related to change – strategy, relationship building and communication.
Consider the following questions to ask yourself as you implement change –
1.) How much do your employees trust you?
2.) Do the majority of employees agree or disagree with the new initiative?
3.) Who will be on the change task force to ensure success?
Those that trust you and agree with you are your champions for change. You hold them close and encourage them to influence those that do not trust you or agree with the change initiative. Employees that trust you may not agree with the idea – invest time in them and learn about their concerns. They may eventually move to the fence and not resist the plan.
If you find that you do not have any champions for change. If that is the case, then you may not even want to try.
Many executive teams uphold confirmation bias when making change. In other words, they have discussed the topic so many times that they are convinced it is the right call. What about the stakeholders?
Change without stakeholder evaluation and analyzation is risky. With a clear understanding of where your stakeholders are in the process, you have a greater chance of success.