Change Management is the area that aims to ensure that transition initiatives are successful and do not negatively impact business.
Organizations throughout the world are constantly adapting in order to support their strategic plans, meet regulatory requirements, operational demands or shareholder interests.
These changes are always accompanied by obstacles. In some situations, inadequate planning and management end up creating more problems than benefits.
Here are the 7 Strategies for Successful Change Management:
The strategies presented below are an adaptation of the model proposed by the consultant Karen Tricomi. She has 25 years of experience in the areas of communication, highly-complex change management and processes. She currently works for the consulting firm The Process Geek.
- Establish your objectives
Once the need for change is identified, the first step is to set objectives. Starting from the current position, what is the situation you want to achieve in the future?
- Identify and involve stakeholders from the outset
Change management needs to examine the transition systemically. It is necessary to understand who will be affected and in what way. What areas and employees are involved? How does the change impact customers? You should also involve other areas and work teams. Present the objectives of the change and listen carefully to the arguments to ensure that all aspects are covered by the initiative. This is critical for the change to occur successfully.
- Use communication to your advantage
Communicate with the stakeholders before you even start the process, even if the change is small. With a simple and clear message, tell people the when, where, how, who and, especially, the why of the change. Use the feedback as another means to ensure that all aspects of the change are anticipated. The communication can be through emails, newsletters, blogs or intranet, among others.
People play a fundamental role in the success of change
- Involve people
People are the gears that move the company. But they are also one of the main obstacles when it comes to implementing change. Involve employees who are concerned about change, managers who believe in it, and those with negative views of it as well. Each can offer different and valuable contributions to the process. Each has their own beliefs and values, which are often impacted by the change. So, one of the challenges is to get people to understand and believe in the benefits of the change. Present specifications and prototypes, highlighting the positive and negative elements. If people cannot visualize the benefits, they simply will not have an interest in the change and will offer resistance.
- Split up the deliveries
Work with the initiative split into in smaller chunks. Establish different cycles for planning, researching requirements, specification development and acceptance testing, among others. Seek approval for specifications and prototypes in conjunction with other interested parties. While acceptance criteria are important for the initiative to move to the next step, implementing it in smaller cycles allows validations and adjustments to be made throughout the project.
- Get involved
The person behind the change cannot simply hold the title and observe the project at a distance. They need to get involved in every step of the process. It is up to them to validate whether the idea really can be regarded as an objective and whether the objective can actually be implemented. It is important to be totally involved with the details. This can be a bit taxing, but it will certainly result in a successful change.
Keep communication channels open
- Provide support after implementation
Once the implementation is complete, it is important to maintain open communication channels. This way, those involved can ask questions and report problems.
Large-scale changes can be difficult to implement and often cause a lot of stress, or they can be implemented in a quiet and harmonious way. What causes affected people to be satisfied or dissatisfied with the change is the way they are prepared and the involvement and support given to them before, during and after the change.