Cultural awareness begins with people

Change saturation usually results in employee stress as they struggle to juggle expectations/demands amid a cascade of top down communications about role changes, system changes, process changes, leadership and management changes, etc.

All this leads to unclear priorities, resulting in confusion and uncertainty, and, ultimately, almost certain change failure.

Increasingly, corporations are starting to recognize this brain-teaser and realize that they do not have the capacity to handle the impact and ever-increasing volume of all these demands. This leaves them feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, because the need for these changes doesn’t just disappear. That’s when Change Management can come to the rescue. Change Managers can break through this, identify the ‘ingredients’ of the mix, mitigate the frustration and stem the saturation by determining the interdependence of the changes, sequencing their effects and thus helping set the priorities.

And then comes complexity

 

In addition to that, companies are global and spanning wide geographic areas; it is therefore common to run into cultural differences and their huge impact. A big organizaton might be introducing the same change in the US as in Europe, Brazil or Africa, but chances are that aspects such as communication style or engagement may be different. Luckily, more and more companies are now starting to realize how fundamental applying change management is to culture and cultural awareness.

multiple and complex change
Change Management is increasing the attention toward culture and cultural awareness

As a result, change managers are paying more attention than ever to all aspects of change; including the extent to which cultural change impacts the people.

What if change management could, first of all, be applied to someone’s personal life? After all, a change manager (like everyone else) goes through many changes during their working life, like – for instance – moving away along with their partner and kids.

When I moved from the US to Switzerland in 2014 it was huge change for my family. I needed to build awareness of the culture, of the places and the habits we were about to experience. As part of our homework, we talked to a lot of people, trying to connect with people already living there. I asked my colleagues, I looked for churches, schools and colleagues who could introduce me to positive and negative aspects of the country. I showed pictures of Switzerland to my children and shared contacts with my wife, so that by the time we landed in Switzerland we already knew 7 people. From there, establishing relationships and starting our new life turned out to be less complex than we had anticipated.

Successful change ultimately only happens when people embrace the new ways. This only happens when their fears are addressed and the positives become apparent. This is why, for a successful change project you need to involve a professional change manager who can help you address the personal aspects .