Culture Development

Navigating Through the Maze: Understanding Types of Organizational Change

Being able to guide and lead change within a company is super important for long-term success. One major part of organizational change is shaping the way people think and act within the company, which connects closely with the overall plan for the company’s success.

To make this happen, it’s important that you, as a business leader, have a solid grasp of organizational development — which involves making sure that everyone is on the same page. This process will help your company adapt and stay strong, no matter what common challenges come up.

Organizational changes in a company can happen for a number of different reasons — like new technology, shifts in the market, or even just the need to be more efficient. In this article, we’ll be digging deep into the details of organizational change, including what it specifically involves and the benefits that come with it.

Once again, for business owners, knowing how to handle and implement organizational change isn’t just helpful — it’s necessary for the long-term success of the entire organization.

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What is Organizational Change?

To put it simply, organizational change is when a company decides to implement new business models so that the organizational culture aligns better with the company’s vision, goals, and core values. Cultural change might involve encouraging more teamwork and coming up with innovative ideas. Similarly, it may involve working to create a more inclusive culture, or making certain processes more customer centric.

Organizational change might also involve completely changing the company’s structure in some cases. If this aspect of organizational change interests you, you might want to spend some time evaluating how your different teams are set up, who reports to whom, and how well-organized your company is in general.

Ultimately, the goal is to make processes more effective and streamlined — this might mean cutting down on management levels or giving your employees more responsibilities (this could help improve employee engagement, too).

Implementing organizational change also means changing how things are done on a day-to-day basis. This might mean making certain processes simpler, putting programs in place to help your employees collaborate more effectively, or making sure that your customers are happy with your company’s services.

Sometimes, it also involves moving people around, hiring new employees, or letting some people go. These aren’t easy decisions to make, but remember — it’s all for the good of the company.

The Many Different Types of Organizational Change

If you want to start implementing organizational change within your company, you’re going to want to understand the common types of organizational change. Let’s break it down below so that you can gain a better understanding of how to go about this process:

Remedial change

When something goes wrong, remedial change is oftentimes the answer. Although it’s not the best solution available, it’s a quick and easy way to solve the immediate problem. Whether you want to reduce certain risks or are simply trying to get rid of inefficiencies, remedial change might be the only option available when it comes to simply smoothing things over.

Unplanned change

Especially in a busy business environment, unexpected or unplanned changes happen all the time. Usually, unplanned change is what happens automatically when unforeseen incidents take place. To give you an example, if market trends suddenly change, you may have to adapt your business operations accordingly. This type of change can’t really be avoided, but that’s not a bad thing.

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Operational change

Implementing operational change means making adjustments to how your company is set up — which can include reorganizing certain departments or teams, cutting down on staff, or changing the ways in which your team members work together.

These changes are usually made because the company’s goals or strategies have shifted. The main goal here is to make day-to-day operations run smoothly — whether it’s by improving workflow or by bringing in new employees.

People-centric organizational change

When introducing people-centric organizational structure change, it’s important to be open, communicate well, have strong leadership, and approach the change with empathy. Some change management methods, such as the Kübler-Ross Change Curve and the Satir Change Model, focus mainly on handling people’s feelings about change. Since organizations are made up of individuals, people-centric change tends to be highly beneficial in most cases.

Strategic change

Strategic change is basically exactly what it sounds like — it means carefully reshaping your company’s vision, goals, setup, culture, and skills to more effectively align with the company’s core values and take advantage of new opportunities or external factors.

This kind of change will usually involve rethinking your company’s goals, as well as the future of your company. Being able to recognize the strategic aspect of change is more important than you might think — it could ultimately make or break your company’s chances of long-term success.

Structural change

Structural change usually involves rearranging who’s in charge, how teams are structured, and what each department is responsible for. To put it simply, it’s a purposeful shift in how the company is organized. When we take a closer look at this type of organizational change, we can see how it’s all about making operations run more efficiently. The same could be said for many types of organizational change!

What Does Organizational Change Look Like?

As we’ve already established, organizational change comes in many different forms. This just goes to show how flexible businesses need to be when it comes to adapting to changing work environments. Here are some examples of what organizational change might look like:

  • Changing Operations: Companies might rearrange their departments or change who reports to whom.
  • Using New Technology: Bringing in new technology (or upgrading old tech) to make operations run more efficiently.
  • Embracing Diversity: Making sure everyone feels included and represented in the workplace.
  • Changing Company Culture: As a business leader, you might encourage more collaboration among your team members. This is an example of cultural change.
  • Streamlining Processes: Constantly trying to improve how things are done (for example, cutting down on waste or making processes more efficient).
  • Leadership Changes: If a leadership change takes place within your company, the company’s goals and strategies might change too.
  • Flexible Work Environment: Letting employees work from home or allowing them to choose their own hours. At a certain point, you have to adapt to modern work expectations, right?
  • New Products or Services: Introducing something new often means changing how the company operates.
  • Big Picture Changes: Some companies might change their entire business strategy in order to keep up with what’s happening in the world around them.

Organizational Change Management

Times have, undeniably, been uncertain for quite a while now. Because of this, businesses have to keep rethinking their business processes. Perhaps you’re dealing with this at your own company. Perhaps, you’re haunted by questions, like: “Should employees keep working from home?” Or “Should I hire new people?” Maybe you’re not super confident about your team’s organizational skills or their ability to work together. Don’t worry — you’re not alone!

Sometimes, changes have to happen fast, which can be difficult for both business owners and employees. Imagine suddenly having to work in an entirely different way. It’s stressful, to say the least! Usually, big changes take a long time to get used to — whether these changes include an entirely different setup, digital transformations, or a new organizational culture.

Implementing organizational change isn’t just about giving your employees new digital tools or communication channels. The management process requires careful planning, effective communication within the company, and adequate training. Naturally, you’ll want to keep an eye on your company’s progress over time, too, just to ensure a successful transformation.

The Bottom Line

Once you have an idea of what needs to change, you’ll want to carefully plan out how you’re actually going to make this organizational change happen. Keep in mind that different types of changes might require different approaches. Using the right method — like Lewin’s Change Management Model or the John Kotter 8-Step Process — can make the transition even smoother, so it’s definitely worth taking into consideration.

Of course, communication is key throughout the entire process. Making sure that everyone understands your business goals is a great way to build trust and rapport. The more your employees trust you, the more willing they’ll be to go along with the cultural and organizational changes you want to implement.

Let’s Shape Your Culture

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of organizational change, you’re ready to start building and shaping your organizational culture. If the idea of doing so is overwhelming at all, don’t worry — we’re here to help!

Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced senior partners. Whether you want to discuss structural change strategies, people-centric organizational change strategies, or improving employee morale, we’ve got your back.

Remember, aligning your company culture with your purpose and strategy is the ultimate way to go. By working with Culture Partners, you’ll be able to use a structured approach to implement the necessary changes to your company culture and find long-term success.

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