Change is never easy or necessarily popular among employees, but that makes it even more important to get change management on the right track from the start.
Change is a necessary ‘evil’ to improvement, but it’s only ‘evil’ in the sense that most people are resistant to that change. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard. It’s unfamiliar; and what makes it worse is that many companies that are undergoing some type of organizational change often fail to develop a well thought-out implementation plan that sets that initiative up for success from the beginning.
So how do you effectively deal with change management? With a little planning and preparation, you can do it successfully. Many of our clients have found the simple, straightforward steps laid out below resulted in increased support for change, reduced employee resistance and an improved ability to track and communicate progress to their organizations.
Here are the five steps that will maximize your success in dealing with change management:
1. Establish Vision and Positive Message About the Change.
It’s important to clearly communicate the benefits of the change taking place, identifying what will be different (and better) as a result, what needs to happen to effect that change, and what the risks are of not implementing the change.
2. Identify the Target Audience for the Change.
Carefully articulate who the change will affect, how the change will help them, and how it may also create more work or complexity for them. Identify the incentives of the change and how you will recognize or reward new behaviors. Also ensure those affected by the change are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to make the change successfully.
3. Consider Resistance and Potential Obstacles to Change.
Recognize what groups or roles are most likely going to resist the change and be prepared to address that resistance, including knowing what you can do to remove obstacles to the change.
4. Identify Supporting Coalition and Change Agents.
Know who is already aligned with the change so you can leverage their support to reach your target audience.
5. Track and Communicate Progress for Change.
Have a plan for measuring the progress of change, to include metrics for tracking that progress so adjustments can be made as necessary to keep moving forward. Take note of success stories and share them with your employees to highlight the positive impact of the initiative. Check for understanding, talk about how they will implement the change, and offer assistance with developing an implementation plan.
Whether you’re preparing for organizational change or organizational transformation, stepping through the five points above will set you up for success and take the ‘evil’ out of the process of improving your organization.