• The ManageUp Team

Change Management is Hard: Good Collaboration Tools Can Help

Updated: Apr 23, 2018


Who likes change? If you care to agree with me, not so many. For the few who embrace change, they share a common perspective. They have realized the need to take another course or direction because they have finally figured out and admitted that nothing is working out for them in their current situation and that they need something new and exciting in their life, like positive outcomes.

At work, in our own organizations where the hustle and bustle never seem to cease, positive outcomes are just the management’s concern to most, especially for employees surviving job ordeals on a daily basis.

Change is viewed as a disruptor, an unwelcome deterrent to having some quality time for oneself and for some peace of mind. It breeds feelings of uncertainty, imbalance, and incompetence. When change happens, a lot of employees feel that are at a loss at something they are previously good at. It almost always equates to more work, even if the purpose of the change is to actually improve processes for more efficiency.

Now let’s get more brutal. More than 70% of change initiatives fail.

According to Gallup, the reasons why organizations fail at successfully achieving their purpose for change revolve around these two main reasons:

  • The directives for the initiatives lack focus. Employees receive a trail of messages that gives directions from different levels of the hierarchy, often vague, and even conflicting.

  • The front-line managers are unclear on the exact actions needed to achieve the initiatives’ purpose

However grand and resolute the objectives of the change movement, and even if people are willing to cooperate, the process could become haywire because of the above reasons.

Giving directives through messages and emails is helpful but it limits the conversation between two people. The question is, why limit the communication between two people when in fact the whole department is working on a single group of tasks? The exchange of information horizontally and vertically in the organization may work better if the group is on one collaborative platform.

Another area of concern when communication is delimited is that the entire change process becomes task-oriented instead of goal-oriented. During implementation, employees lose motivation, become disengaged and act out of purpose.

The role of front-line managers is also of utmost importance. Front-line managers’ main task is to oversee the carrying out of initiatives and make things happen. This task is not as easy as it sounds. In the real world, when things get murky in this level of the hierarchy, all else look like pick-up-sticks. Employees are uncertain where to start and how to proceed. Questions regarding details of the initiatives pile up, and when there is no one adept enough to answer, disinterest begins to loom in, and before you know it, you categorize yourself under the 70% who didn’t make it.

Statistics make the result of efforts look grim. But not necessarily. A major player in the realization of the goals for effective change is collaboration.

There cannot be positive change unless a group of dedicated people act accordingly, and work strongly towards a single vision. If we are to make one thing as a common denominator that would be most beneficial to transformation efforts, I would have to say look into the advantages of collaboration tools.

Collaboration tools enable groups to have real-time discussions about problems and solutions. It allows input. It shapes ideas and thoughts and opens an opportunity for feedback. It easily redirects tasks and objectives to the main purpose. Most importantly, it makes connections visible.

What qualities should you be looking for in a collaboration tool? It should:

  • allow managers and the staff alike to prioritize tasks and objectives

  • give a clear picture of where your team is in the stages of change

  • have a discussion portal that enables exchange, viewing, and modification of a project or workflow by a group of people

  • enable streamlining of communication that will manage stakeholder inquiries and feedback

  • include a knowledge portal where employees can easily access information needed to accomplish their tasks.

  • be able to present contingencies to everyone concerned

Making a decision to invest in a collaboration tool may the best you would ever make this year. Ensure that you have the common denominator to manage change at every stage.

There are numerous collaborative tools available out there. It’s just a matter choosing the best that would suit your organization’s needs. If you find one with all the aforementioned qualities plus added features such as tracking and monitoring, employee recognition and gamification, you can go confidently tell change, “Bring it on!”