Three key steps to navigating the politics of change

Business politics can be one of the main challenges when looking to drive successful business change. However, the careful navigation of internal politics is a factor that is often overlooked.

Here are three ways that effective change can be achieved while ensuring that political sensitivities are managed:

1. Communicate

When faced with change, the natural reaction of most people is to consider the personal impact this will have on them. A good change programme should consider the implications of the suggested approach for each employee. Consequently it should offer support mechanisms right from the very beginning.

In turn, this will also make it easier to anticipate and mitigate any setbacks. By building in buffer time and creating a communications strategy you are able to pre-empt any issues.

2. Map out stakeholder groups

While focus is usually placed on senior stakeholders, influencers are in fact often spread across the business and may be found in many different positions. By mapping out stakeholder groups at an early stage in the change programme, it becomes far easier to determine who the true influencers are within an organisation. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by spending time with employees and gaining a better understanding of the workforce and its dynamics.

3. Review the reasons behind resistance

It can be easy to dismiss resistance as defiance when coordinating a transformation programme. However, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying reason for this behaviour. Different people have different worries and similarly respond to different methods of communication.

As such, thought should be given to how the change process can be organised. This will ensure that it reflects the needs of the majority of employees. By adopting this approach from the start, change managers can help businesses to avoid costly and time-consuming resistance throughout the project.

Published: Jun 17, 2019

By Peter Marsden

Principal Consultant

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