Change Management: 4 skills a Change Manager must have
Business acquisitions are big in Hong Kong. Companies being bought, sold and merging happen left, right and centre, and offices are constantly trying to keep operations in line and running smooth.
With any M&As, change management is key. Business transitions need to be handled with ultimate care to ensure there are minimal problems, and that all staff are comfortable with the range of changes happening.
Change Managers, sometimes called transition managers, typically work within the Human Resources function and are in charge of managing the change and ensuring the business is ready to adapt. They assist in planning management and help employees understand, commit to, and cope with all the adjustments. Businesses can’t afford to postpone operations until they’ve embraced all the changes between the old and new management.
Here are some skills a change manager must have:
Experience in Human Resources / Leadership
It’s important that as a change manager, you’ve had enough experience in planning and execution of tasks for a seamless transition. You must also have good knowledge of the industry or business you’re working on to be able to come up with a perfectly tailored strategy. Change managers must have a proven track record of successful transitions, which can be backed-up by previous employers and colleagues for authenticity.
The ability to listen (to the right people!)
There are a lot of voices in an acquisition or merger - but who are the most important ones? Sure, you might be tied to new rules and strategies through your new management, but your front-line staff are the ones who know the ins and outs of the business. They will know if a new strategy will fail - they’re the ones interacting with your customers and suppliers! If there’s something wrong with the organisation’s processes, they will bear the brunt of it. It’s all well and good to take lead from the top, but know when to push back based on feedback from your front-line warriors.
Play the political game
Change is political - there are always winners and losers. Even when everyone has the best intentions, things are going to go wrong and people are going to end up disappointed. As a change manager, you need to be able to navigate the business politics: understand everyone’s agenda, anticipate where things could go wrong, know how to manage egos and help people feel respected.
Organisation and follow-through
Good change leaders create plans and think through the details to make everyone feel comfortable with change. Then, they see things through. Track the change as it happens and constantly update your approach to fit with the business as it adapts. Be a “yes” person, but know when to push back, and be proactive about fixing problems before they arise.
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