Change may be inevitable in all facets of life, but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. This is especially true when it comes to implementing organizational changes at work

According to the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, 70% of companies’ change programs fail. This happens for several reasons: low employee engagement, lack of managerial support, little-to-no collaboration, or a lack of accountability. 

But how can your company avoid those pitfalls? More often than not the key to successful change management is asking the right questions. 

Preview for company asking change management questions

The 7 Rs (and questions) of change management

The seven Rs of change management are the linchpin to effectively direct change in your company. Each R relates to a question that helps normalize the change process. The questions also give employees a framework to depend on when things are in flux. 

1. Who raised the change?

Effective communication across an organization is crucial to change management. Any upcoming changes must be properly communicated to other parts of the business. When change is siloed within departments, uncertainty ensues. Implementing a central system to record all changes cuts down on confusion and helps identify who raised the change so the work can quickly begin. 

2. What’s the reason for the change?

Regardless of the type of change, understanding the reason for the change will save you headaches, and sidestep high-risk situations. When questioning the reason for an organizational change, project leads should institute a system of criteria on how to prioritize milestones, build accountability, and understand the intended business outcomes to communicate to stakeholders.

3. What is the expected return from the change?

Before implementing a change, it’s important to set expectations with employees and stakeholders. Before setting the priority level of an organizational change, you want to understand what sort of outcome you are expecting, especially the financial return.

4. What are the potential risks involved?

Any change involves risk, but how much risk varies. During this phase of change management, assess the impact of the change on your organization. Make a plan for the worst-case scenario as well as weighing the risk of what happens if you don’t make the change. Some risk can be mitigated or avoided altogether, but some risk has to be accepted. 

5. What are the resources required to execute the change?

Both infrastructure resources and human resources are required to implement change. For your employees, ask what skills are needed for the change. Are those skills available to your workforce? 

Infrastructure like budgets, software, hardware, office space, and other tools require similar consideration. What tools are necessary to implement this change? Are they available? Also, consider the impact this initiative will have on other projects. If people or tools are re-allocated to support the change project, what is the delay to other work?

6. Who is responsible for each aspect of the change? 

The people managing the projects at the center of organizational change should answer this question. Use project management systems like JIRA or Asana to ensure responsibilities are assigned to appropriate employees and are actionable across the entire process, from change request to deployment.

7. What is the relationship between the suggested change and other changes? 

Sometimes actioning multiple changes at once is unavoidable for companies. Project leads should determine the relationship between all projects and communicate those relationships across departments. Priorities of planned change projects need to be clearly defined so that all team members can ensure they’re meeting internal timelines.

Stay ahead of your company’s organizational change

Reflecting on these seven questions before implementing change will help your organization mitigate risk. Plus you’ll all but guarantee more meaningful returns. These practices go a long way towards making employees feel secure in their work and ready to support whatever might lie ahead. 
Change management programs don’t have to be intimidating overhauls. Read 5 Ways to Change Behavior at Work to see how Lyft used learning programs to build engaging opportunities to drive a culture shift.