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Businesses change – it’s the nature of a competitive marketplace. Regardless of the industry in which an organisation operates, at some point it will likely have to undergo some level of change in order to position itself as a market leader.
Change management in business can be a complicated issue. Major adjustments to the way in which a business operates or provides its products and services must be carefully managed. There are several different ways to manage change in the workplace – but here are just a few key tips that the experts would recommend if you’re looking to lead your business through a change process.
Before undertaking any change, a business needs to have a clear and valid reason and mission for the change process. Make sure any undertaking, no matter its size or impact, is realistic, measureable and achievable – there is no use in creating a difficult situation if there is no significant gain to be made for the organisation or its stakeholders.
Start with the end in mind – make plans according to your overall goals, and ensure that all staff are also able to see exactly where an organisation is heading throughout a change process. A solid direction makes employees more likely to accept and embrace changes.
The most important factor in changing anything within a business, small or large, is to communicate the change, and its many factors, to the key stakeholders within the organisation – staff, first and foremost, but also outside stakeholders like shareholders and consumers.
There is no perfect or fool-proof way to communicate change within a business setting. But there are a few rules to remember, such as:
As an integral part of its responsibility for strengthening the science and engineering infrastructure of the country, NSF provides support for the construction and operation of major research equipment and facilities. NSF depends on the research communities to provide the justification, planning, development, and implementation of facility projects. This normally occurs through National Academies studies, workshop reports, professional society activities, and other community-based mechanisms, including engineering studies and research projects related to the development of new technologies. Many of these mechanisms are funded by interested NSF Programs on the basis of merit-reviewed proposals. Construction funding depends on the scale of the proposed facility. For large facilities construction, the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account is one option. Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate NSF Program to discuss the availability of funding and the appropriate funding mechanisms in advance of proposal submission. The Large Facilities Manual (LFM), a public document managed by the Large Facilities Office, contains NSF policy on the planning and management of large facility projects. The policies in the LFM apply to all large facility projects funded by NSF. The purpose of the LFM is to: (1) provide guidance for NSF staff and awardees to carry out effective project planning, management, assistance, assurance, and oversight of large facilities; (2) clearly state the policies, requirements, and recommended procedures pertinent at each stage of a facilitys life cycle, and (3) document best practices that ensure accountability and effectiveness of the program.
Many research projects require access to computational, data storage or visualization resources in order to complete the work proposed. Typically such resources will be noted in the proposal under Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources. For those projects that require such resources at a scale that is beyond that available locally, NSF supports a number of national resources. For the most computationally massive projects, the Blue Waters system at University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, is the most suitable. Blue Waters is designed to support a small number (~50) of research teams involved with projects requiring the most advanced computational and data resources. The allocation review process is through proposal submission to the cognizant Program Officer in the Office of Advanced CyberInfrastructure within the NSF Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering. Proposals are reviewed for both their scientific and computational needs. The Blue Waters supercomputer provides sustained performance of 1 petaflop on a range of real-world science and engineering applications. It is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Those interested should visit the Blue Waters portal () for more details of the system's hardware and capabilities.
See for additional guidance on the mentoring and data management plan requirements for collaborative proposals. NSF will combine the proposal submission for printing or electronic viewing.
The cost of computer services, including computer-based retrieval of scientific, technical and educational information, may be requested only where it is institutional policy to charge such costs as direct charges. A justification based on the established computer service rates at the proposing organization must be included. The proposal budget also may request costs for leasing of computer equipment. As noted in , general purpose (such as word processing, spreadsheets, communication) computer equipment should not be requested. Note: See paragraph (a) above for guidance on acquisition of computing devices.
(e) evidence of research products and their availability, including, but not limited to: data, publications, samples, physical collections, software, and models, as described in any Data Management Plan; and
Plans for data management and sharing of the products of research, including preservation, documentation, and sharing of data, samples, physical collections, curriculum materials and other related research and education products should be described in the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the proposal (see for additional instructions for preparation of this section).
Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit, relevant to a proposal are available at: . If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in this section apply.
If it’s possible for the change program of your business to be adjusted, then open up your plans for consultation with your stakeholder group. The staff of an organisation are the people who work with a particular product, or encounter customers, or provide services – whatever the case may be for your organisation. Because they have direct experience, they are likely to have valuable information and suggestions to offer to a proposed change.
If the change in an organisation is related to a merger or acquisition, or something equally beyond the control of a manager, then it is best to ensure that staff and stakeholders do not feel excluded from the change process.
One of the biggest challenges with change management processes comes in the form of motivation. How are you meant to motivate staff when there are major changes occurring within an organisation? Unfortunately, some changes are not necessarily beneficial – in tough economic changes, occurrences like mergers and downsizing can create an unmotivated environment in some businesses. Ensure that your organisation finds a way to connect with its staff and provide motivation for staff to continue working and contributing to the business.
Staff are often guilty of reverting to old ways throughout a change process – both effective and ineffective. A change process needs to be organisation wide, so have faith in the changes being implemented and show your trust by limiting opportunities for staff to revert to their old habits. If your organisation is changing a procedure, then ensure that the new procedure is followed closely. If your business is implementing a new computer system, ensure that there is minimal access to the previous system. If your company is changing attitudes across the organisation, create a system that can catch any instances of old attitudes.
Manage the Workload:
Change can bring an increased workload in many organisations, especially if there are changes to technology or company procedure. As a manager in a change situation, be mindful that if you are changing the way in which your staff operate or produce work, they may be less efficient than they previously were – simply because they are most likely learning new habits again. Change can be a lengthy process, so ensure that people are supported – expect delays and deficiencies as employees learn.
As a manager or executive throughout a change management situation, it’s crucial that the organisation, its passage through the change program, and the wider organisation’s reactions to that change program are evaluated at every feasible opportunity. Measure KPIs, ask for feedback from staff and make any required revisions to the original plans - changes should be flexible where necessary to protect the business, its staff, and its brand. Evaluation can occur in many different ways, and at many different stages – choose whichever evaluation tools work effectively for your business and situation.
These are just a few key issues that organisations face throughout change management processes – have you been in a situation involving drastic business changes? How did you approach it – or alternatively, how would you approach it as a leader?
This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: , , and .
Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non-lead collaborative proposals or subawards included.