If you have been given the assignment to implement major change, you will no doubt find it to be one of the most challenging assignments of your career. Show here are ten tips for implementing a successful organizational change effort.
1. Define what must change.
Major change must begin by first understanding the current level of performance that you find unacceptable and what must change to improve it. This is typically driven by a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace and/or unhappy customers, but can also include employees and/or shareholder dissatisfaction. It comes down to performance or condition that must be different.
2. Articulate why change must occur.
Kafka once said “In a fight between you and the world, bet on the world”. Translated, this means that adoption of major change must be led by a compelling need for that adoption. The pain of not changing must be greater than the pain of the change itself for the change to be embraced by those most affected.
3. Identify the change constituents.
Every successful major change effort includes the identification of the key constituents that will impact the successful adoption of that change. Key constituents usually include the sponsor, the user group itself, those who will be impacted by the change, and the larger organization surrounding the effort.
4. Develop a vision for the adopted change.
Unlike the more common vague and lofty vision statement, a vision that articulates clear details of the future is more likely to drive change that will be successful. Key constituents must be given a clear understanding of exactly what will be different in the future and how the organization will operate once the change has been adopted.
5. Define the change strategy.
The change strategy defines the “what you will do” to adopt the change vision. It should include a statement of “what will change” or “what will improve” to implement the future state.
6. Develop the change plan.
The change plan defines “how you will do it”, that is how you will implement the change strategy. It should include actions, resources, time, communication and accountabilities.
7. Broadly communicate.
The communication effort must include a business case for the change, broad communication of the compelling need to change and the vision of the adopted change for the future. Communications much reach the front lines and carry meaning for those who are most impact by its effects.
8. Engage the organization.
Even the most brilliant strategy doesn’t survive engagement. An absolutely critical element of successful change is to actively engage those constituents who are key to successful implementation. This involves regular communication, active discussion of the change status, confrontation with change resistors, and close monitoring of the change effort itself.
9. Monitor progress.
Major change plan must include regular monitoring and accountability that provides feedback allowing for adjustments to be made. All change efforts face resistance along the way and monitoring and adjustment provides the basis to work through that resistance to a successful outcome.
10. Know when to call victory.
Rarely does a major change effort end exactly where the vision anticipated. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what victory means for the desired change and to drive towards a successful outcome.
Implementing Successful Organizational Change
Did you find this article useful? If so, consider downloading our Major Change Management Plan Template, which will help you ask the right questions to navigate the activities necessary to plan and implement successful change that creates value for your employer.