One thing you cannot deny in business is change. Change is not always negative or positive, however it is always different. Change is omnipresent – whether driven by technology or economic or other factors; the indisputable fact is you are asking people to change.
Change is present in any organisation at any size. Some organisations, especially the bigger ones, have specific departments that focus on change. However, that does not mean that change does not happen in smaller organisations, it might just not be recognized as ‘change’.
Change is becoming more and more important and will be so in the future too. Organisations in any kind of field are experiencing changes under the current digital revolutions. Whether it is digitization of documents, automation of processes or machine learning, change is everywhere and constant. To be able guide this change, organisations need to recognize it and embed change within their organisations. Their staff will have to get used to a different way of work, change their mindset and change their habits and behavior. With this outset, the change management skills people and organisations are going to need are only becoming more important as technology moves on.
Key skills to prepare for the coming years
You can divide skills into five different types namely: physical & manual skills, basic cognitive skills, higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills and technological skills. In the coming decade we can expect a net loss on physical & manual skills and basic cognitive skills. There shall be a gain in higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills and technological skills.
Within these three skill types that are expected to grow over the coming years are many diverse skills. The ones that fall under higher cognitive skills for example are:
- Project management
- Creative thinking and decision making
- Complex information processing and interpretation
Skills that fall under social and emotional skills for example are:
- Advanced communication and negotiation
- Leadership and managing others
- Adaptability and continuous learning
Skills that fall under technological skills for example are:
- Advanced IT skills and programming
- Advanced data analysis and mathematical skills
- Scientific research and development
Key change management skills
Change is increasing and organisations cannot longer ignore it. To help embed this change within the organisation, an organisation can benefit from change management. Change Management includes a very rich skill set. A skill set that helps to increase people engagement and includes many different soft skills.
The key change management skills are very diverse and most of them fall under the type ‘social and emotional skills’. For example while preparing your staff on a different way of work, you need great interpersonal skills, but also a great deal of empathy. To get people to change their work they have been doing for years, is not as easy as it sounds and it is important to listen to their worries and needs. Connected with this are both the advanced communication and negotiation skills and the teaching and training skills.
Entrepreneurship and initiative taking are also skills that are needed within the change management department, together with creativity. This will help find solutions and adapt when sudden changes do arise.
Adaptability and continuous learning will help the whole organisation to learn from ongoing changes, but also from past changes (both failed and successful). Leadership and management skills will help manage the people and the organisation and provide direction.
The Change journey
Change is not something that will happen overnight and needs a vision of where the organisation wants to go. However, it is important to not only focus on this vision but also to see the journey. Change comes in little steps and if you recognize these little steps and share them with the people, you will create the needed engagement. This is another change management skill, to manage and control the transitional phase. Communication, problem solving and influencing are all part of this.
Change is about people and they need to be ready for change. It is important not to introduce too much change at once and the change needs to be delivered in phases. To do this, there needs to be input from the senior management and if possible, can be connected to existing portfolio management.
Do you think your organisation can benefit from a solid change approach. Follow one of our Change Management courses!