The following blog appeared on Sharlyn Lauby’s HR Bartender blog. Sharlyn is an HR pro turned consultant. 

Want a competitive edge? The key is all about the way a company knows how to manage change.

It totally makes sense. Dr. Peter Senge shared with us that learning organizations strive to continuous improve. And continuous improvement makes the organization better. Well, learning and continuous improvement involve the way we manage change.

Change is a critical differentiator in today’s business world. Being able to recognize the need for change and incorporate necessary changes helps both individuals and organizations stay on top of their game. There are two competencies for managing change effectively:

Preparedness is being able to anticipate and take advantage of change. Many people are able to see change coming. It’s about leveraging the opportunity. 

Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and decisively. It’s one thing to see the change coming and another to react to it.

Once a company knows that change is necessary, they have to decide how they are going to spend their time. Do they wait for change to arrive and grouse the entire time about how it’s going to wreck their business? Or is the time spent putting a plan in place to potentially mitigate any losses and possibly benefit from the change? Because if your competitive set is busy griping then it only makes good business sense to set yourself apart by embracing the change.

The only way a company can really benefit from change is when their employees are capable of being agile in preparing for change. That means having a well-defined and executed strategy where talent is concerned. Two thing companies can do to align their business and talent strategy include:

  • Goal setting and performance management has a clear purpose and is connected to organizational objectives.
  • Leadership development plays a huge role in high-performing workplaces, especially when management is held accountable for their performance.

Becoming a high performance company comes down to hiring the right people and giving them the tools to succeed. That includes communicating expectations, training where appropriate and developing individuals for future needs. Want a competitive edge? Develop the best darn group of employees you can. They’ll make sure managing change is a no-brainer.

Sharlyn published a follow-up blog in response to some questions received on this topic. You can read it here.

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