There is no single methodology or right way to go about creating change within an organisation. However, there are certain steps that an executive can take to implement the change as smoothly and systematically as possible. These measures include strategies for helping the manager to understand what to expect and what the best approaches are for helping employees welcome the change. By taking a holistic approach from managing company culture to individual sentiments, a supervisor will be more likely to achieve the desired results - short-term and long-term.
Therefore, here are the need-to-know principles of change management that every executive should know to build immediate and lasting business success.
Engage leadership in the change process from the start
Change can be difficult for people to deal with, regardless of their position or seniority within the organisation. However, employees will often look to leadership for strength, support, and direction during this process. Therefore, it’s critical to engage executives from the start and ensure that they are all on the same page about goals and plans relating to the direction of the change. By getting management on board, workers will feel more confident about the improvements and therefore, much more likely to adopt to any new policies and procedures that come about with the transition.
Acknowledge both positive and negative sentiments
Transformation can be easy for some people and difficult for others. Therefore, leaders should address how people feel, whether positively or negatively, to help them adapt accordingly. To create a smooth transition leaders should clearly communicate what will be different, provide any necessary training, and get feedback from employees on what can further be improved. A good way to understand how people are feeling is to conduct an anonymous Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, which lets you identify promoters - loyal enthusiasts, or workers who feel positively about the company - versus detractors - unhappy employees who can cause problems down the road.
Establish ownership, not just buy-in
Getting C-level executives involved isn’t enough to ensure successful change management. There needs to be ownership - by everyone who will be potentially affected. That includes department heads and employees alike. All staff should be a part of the process, whether it’s giving feedback, or accepting responsibility for making change happen in any areas or projects they oversee. Ownership is best created when people feel like they can identify issues and help craft solutions to those problems. It is then further reinforced by financial incentives or other rewards which can come in the form of camaraderie or a shared sense of identity.
To get the proper ownership, here’s a pyramid from PWC of recommended steps you can take, including creating cross-functional teams or facilitating bottom-up and top-down communication to ensure that everyone is on board.
Create a realistic but visionary plan for change
No change management process is complete without the right scheme. However, that plan must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) - an acronym that’s common when referring to [marketing] goals. The right plan should be the following:
- “Specific” by laying out what steps to take;
- “Measurable” through setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for reporting on the successes and failures of the transformation;
- “Attainable” by creating a plan that’s realistic and can be implemented;
- “Relevant” to ensuring it’s the right thing to do for the organisation;
- “Timely” by setting deadlines for achieving benchmarks as part of the plan.
These principles are ones that are critical to achieving successful change management. However, as discussed, there is no single way to go about transforming an organisation. Strategies vary depending on your business needs and challenges. Therefore, to understand what else you need to do to create a seamless plan, we suggest you enroll in this 8-part change management eCourse to learn all of the fundamentals.
Written by Bryan Carroll @Locomote