A Guide to Implementing Change

Organizational change is difficult; yet, change is imperative to remaining competitive. Studies suggest that change efforts fail for a number of reasons, including:

• Changes are not anchored in corporate culture.
• A compelling business case is not made.
• The organization is not prepared for the change.
• The change vision is unclear; outcomes and measures are not well defined.
• Leaders fail to plan for and accomplish short-term wins.
• Communication is inadequate.
• Executives do not get personally involved in leading the change effort.

While change initiatives are often complex, we offer a few quick ideas to increase the success of your next change effort:

1. Clarify the goal. Be clear on what you’re doing and why – establish a clear business rationale. Answer these questions:
• What problem are we solving or improvement are we making?
• Why is the change necessary?
• How is this going to support business strategy and goals?

2. Determine the impact. List the factors or consequences (good and bad) that create a desire to change.

3. Get others involved. Determine stakeholder commitment. Get input. Create a chart of who will be affected by the change and how.

4. Create a plan for ongoing involvement and communication. Identify and articulate clear outcomes; and, communicate along the way. Tap into formal and informal leaders to help communicate the message.

5. Implement the change. Use systematic methods. Identify knowledge and skills needed to support the change over time; evaluate staff’s ability to implement the needed actions; and provide resources, training, and support as necessary.

6. Communicate the change using the plan identified above; invite further reaction and input.

7. Align other systems to support the change (e.g., rewards, incentives, other HR systems). Create an environment that supports the change effort.

8. Share measures and results. Let others see the outcomes. Identify and implement steps needed to support the change over time.

Related Articles: Successfully Lead Change

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