Steps to Successful Change

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Steps to Successful Change

Here are some rules for effective management of change. Managing organizational change will be more successful if you apply these simple principles. Achieving personal change will be more successful too if you use the same approach where relevant.

The more significant the change, the greater the fear, uncertainty and resistance will be. It is critical then that the leadership in the organization take the time to explain the upcoming changes and put employees at ease as much as possible.

Other kinds of resistance that leaders might see from employees might stem from a fear of failure and a loss of job security. Employees have to break old routines and learn new skill sets to remain valued employees. Disruption of cultural traditions and possible personality conflicts are two other factors that could lead to a resistance to change from employees.

Managing Resistance to Change

Leaders should take a proactive approach in managing resistance to change. Methods for managing resistance to change are effective communication and employee involvement. When managers involve their team and communicate, employees feel empowered and may be less resistant to changes. If managers communicate their strategic visions and plans along the way, there will be less fear of the unknown.

Step change model can be summarised as:

  1. Increase urgency – inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
  2. Build the guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
  3. Get the vision right – get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy, focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
  4. Communicate for buy-in – Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people’s needs. De-clutter communications – make technology work for you rather than against.
  5. Empower action – Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders – reward and recognise progress and achievements.
  6. Create short-term wins – Set aims that are easy to achieve – in bite-size chunks. Manageable numbers of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones.
  7. Don’t let up – Foster and encourage determination and persistence – ongoing change – encourage ongoing progress reporting – highlight achieved and future milestones.
  8. Make change stick – Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave change into culture.

Ideas on illustrating change management issues

When people are confronted with the need or opportunity to change, especially when it’s ‘enforced’, as they see it, by the organization, they can become emotional. So can the managers who try to manage the change. Diffusing the emotional feelings, taking a step back, encouraging objectivity, are important to enabling sensible and constructive dialogue.

To this end, managers and trainers can find it helpful to use analogies to assist themselves and other staff to look at change in a more detached way.

Establish a means for keeping communication lines open between those who will manage the change and those who will be affected by it. Employees, especially those who have lost colleagues in a round of layoffs, often experience many emotions during this process.

It is important to remember to never respond to a question for which you do not truly know the answer, as this will lead to a lack of credibility with company workers.

So, whatever way you look at organizational change, you are kidding yourself if you think you can come up with a plan for change and then simply tell or persuade your people to implement it.

Instead, start by looking at your organization’s aims and values and purposes.

  • What does your organization actually seek to do?

  • Whom does your organization benefit?

  • And whom does it exploit?

  • Who are the winners, and who are the losers?

  • Does your organization have real integrity?

  • Are you proud of the consequences and implications of what your organization does?

  • Will you be remembered for the good that you did – in the widest possible sense of doing good – while you were in charge and in your position of responsibility?

And what do your people say to themselves about the way you are managing change?

Ask them.


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