In every organization, there will be times where a change is necessary. It could be rolling out a new customer resource management (CRM) tool, or to highlight a change in strategy or direction for the company. Luckily, there is a defined process that individuals go through as the deal with changes, and whilst it differs slightly from person to person, you can easily learn how to manage change. For new leaders, this course is fantastic, as it will give you the base information you need to understand regarding a change in your workplace. You should also check out this recent post on the importance of strong leadership within a company, and get some insight on the actions you need to be taking to establish your authority in your company.
If you apply the following principles to the change you need to implement, you’ll be much more successful. You can’t force change on a person, but you can guide them through each of the steps, and with a little bit of sensitivity, thoughtful planning and involving them in the change they’ll be much happier with it all. You can learn a little bit more about being an effective change manager in this course.
Above all, you need to be realistic in your goals, have set targets to achieve, and keep track of your results. Before you even start to make a change, ask yourself:
- By making this change what do we hope to achieve?
- Once the change is made, how will we know it has been achieved?
- Who is going to be affected by the change, and what reaction can we expect?
- How much of the change can we achieve alone, and what parts do we need help with?
Don’t worry if you feel uneasy with change, sometimes the challenge can seem large, or even overwhelming. What you do need to keep in mind is that business today is in a constant state of change. With new technology, new markets, and new competitors, you need to embrace change to stay ahead of the competition and lead a successful company. This course is another great asset for your toolkit, and it covers how you can use an organizations culture to assist in the change process.
So how do you get started? The easiest way is to follow a process, and there are many different theories to follow. The two most prominent are the eight steps of John Kotter, and Proci’s maximize change. The approach below is adapted from these two schools of thought.
Within any change there are different phases. Initially, you have a small team that are doing the preparation work, understanding what needs to be done and how to roll it out. The next step is the actual work of the implementation, as you bring the entire organization on board and start making the change. Finally, you monitor the changes and ensure that everyone is sticking to the new guidelines.
It’s important to clarify here what change management actually means. It refers to the processes, techniques and tools you need to manage a change, by itself it is not a standalone solution to design business solutions. The goal of change management is simply to minimize an organization’s resistance to changes, and is a necessary part of the traditional performance improvement processes like Six Sigma, and Total Quality Management.
Discover an Organization’s Readiness to Change
This first stage has a broad scope, as you look at all the aspects of an organization and determine how ready they are to change. Look at specifics like how big the change will be, and the people affected, as well as factors like if it will be a gradual or a radical change. Here you should also try to identify where you can expect resistance, and assess the strengths of the team who will be rolling out the change.
It’s not just about telling your employees what’s happening, in fact an employee often needs to hear a message 6 or 7 times before it really sinks in. Consider the audience you have as you bring up the topic of the change, what you’re actually saying and when you’re telling everyone. The communication process should be as follows:
- Build awareness surrounding the need to change, and the risks of not changing
- Create a desire within the employees themselves to change
- Start to give employees the information, but decide on a communication plan with the change management team, and follow it accordingly
Get the Leaders Involved
This includes top management and the informal leaders within an organization. The more they are all actively involved in the process, the more the general staff will want to be a part of the change. This requires more than a simple gesture of support, the leaders in the company need to participate in the changes being made.
The Right Training and Coaching
Ultimately an employee’s direct supervisor will have the biggest influence on their individual motivation to change. Within an organization, it is often the supervisors who are the most difficult people to convince of the need to change, and they can form a massive resistance. It’s the duty of the change manager to bring them on board, and give them the coaching they need to manage the changes within their teams.
The Skills to Do the Job
It is essential to train the staff that are in the project team on the new systems and tools, so that they have the necessary knowledge and ability to roll out the new processes within the organization. This is the starting point, and from here you can develop endless training programs to get the entire company up to speed.
You will always face resistance as you try to implement a change, and this is a normal part of the change cycle. However if individuals are persistent in their resistance, it can undermine all of the changes you seek to make. The change management team needs to identify both potential and actual pockets of resistance, and manage these throughout the company.
Be in it for the Long Run
Make sure with all the changes that you get the employees involved, and actively manage the change over the long run. Incorporate feedback from employees into the new processes, and make corrective action when you see the new processes not being followed.
Celebrate the Successes
Throughout the project there will be both early successes and long term wins, so be sure that you always reinforce all of the desired behavior, and praise staff who are getting everything right. This helps to build a foundation for the new processes, and encourages all of your staff to get on board.
Review the Changes
The final stage is to look back at the entire change management process, and evaluate the entire program. Discover where you could have done things differently, and determine what worked well within your organization. You’ll use this learning in your next initiative, and it forms the basis of a company that is continually improving.
These different steps form the basis of the change management process. What makes it simple to implement is they all follow a system, that good project managers can utilize in making a change a success. This is better for everyone, as the organization can implement changes faster, reduce the risk of upsetting (and losing) valued employees, and keep their productivity high. Check out this course an discover how you can become a leader within your company, and learn the change process for yourself so you can help your team through anything!