Welcome to Change Management!
Change Management is a common buzz word in today’s businesses. The way businesses manage change and how successful they are at it, depends largely on the nature of business, the change and the people involved.
Change is an alteration of a company’s strategy, organization or culture as a result of changes in its environment, structure, technology or people. A manager’s job would be very straightforward and simple (not to say boring) if changes were not occurring in these areas. Good managers have the competence to manage change. These changes can be alterations in structure (design of jobs, span of control, authority relationships or coordinating mechanisms), in technology (equipment, work processes or work methods) as well as in people (behaviors, perceptions, expectations or attitudes).
Change Management is the structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented and for achieving lasting benefits of change. The change management focus is on the wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they, as individuals and teams, move from the current state to the future state. The change could range from a simple process change to a major system change to achieve the organization’s potential.
Change Management is a term for all approaches to preparing and supporting individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change.
2. Reasons for Change
We will start this course by asking ourselves why change is necessary. A complex structure like an organization is typically driven by external factors as well as internal factors in regard to the need for change, which we will examine in this first chapter.
There are a number of external forces that create an explicit need for change. The external environment is all about factors that occur outside of the company that cause change inside organizations and are, for the most part, beyond the control of the company. Customers, competition, the economy, technology, political and social conditions, and resources are common external factors that influence the organization.
External forces of change are often classified under three broad categories:
1. Market situation and technology The global marketplace has created a huge need for change because of globalization, internationalization, and a more flexible and dynamic situation. Some of this could not have occurred without the various and dramatic changes in technology. An example of the changing marketplace is the deregulation of many industries and the trend towards privatization.
2. Government laws and regulations Government laws and regulations can have a large impact on an organization such as with deregulation. Organizations have to change because it is now prescribed. New tobacco taxes and the legislation requiring tobacco manufacturers to disclose the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, for example, have created huge pressures on some large organizations in the USA and Europe. These organizations now have to change to ensure their economic viability.
3. Economics Finally, these economic ups and downs have a dramatic effect on organizations as well on domestic markets as the worldwide economic influence continues on organizations. This phenomenon could be seen during the last financial crisis. The effects were recognized in the USA first; then they hit Europe, Japan and finally the rest of the world. As a consequence, several automobile manufacturers have announced production cutbacks and reduced employment.
External forces for change include:
1. market & technology, 2. laws & regulations, and 3. economics.
Even though the external environment occurs outside of an organization, it can have a significant influence on its current operations, growth, and long-term sustainability. Ignoring external forces can be a detrimental mistake for managers to make. As such, it is imperative that managers continually monitor and adapt to the external environment, working to make proactive changes earlier on rather than having to take a reactive approach, which can lead to a vastly different outcome.
The internal environment of an organization refers to events, factors, people, systems, structures, and conditions inside the organization that are generally under the control of the company. The company’s mission statement, organizational culture, and style of leadership are factors typically associated with the internal environment of an organization.
Parallel to the external reasons, there are three different internal forces for change:
1. Corporate strategy It is not unusual for an organization to change its strategy. It can lead e.g. to a large number of changes if the organization decides to adopt a new distribution methodology or a new logistic strategy. Also, a merger will change an organization’s way of acting. For example, a company decides to enter the e-commerce business.
2. Technology and equipment The introduction of new equipment or new technology is another internal force for change which affects an organization. The implementation of new technology needs new processes or structures. Through this, employees will have to be trained for new work processes or new jobs.
3. Workforce and Employee attitudes The composition of an organization’s workforce never stays static because it changes in terms of gender, age or education. New employees join the organization and other people leave. With these changes, managers may need to redesign work and workgroups in order to ensure the job requirements match the skills of the people. Lastly, employee attitudes such as the level of job satisfaction can lead to either negative or positive forces for change.
Internal forces for change include:
1. corporate strategy, 2. technology & equipment, and 3. workforce & attitudes.
As such, it is the internal environment that will influence organizational activities, decisions, and employee behavior and attitudes. Changes in the leadership style, the organization’s mission, or culture can have a considerable impact on the organization.
Dealing with Change
With a world closing in every day, companies are forced to critically reassess and, if necessary, change their business model, but also their organizational structure or their corporate culture.
Habits are a normal part of every person’s life, but they are often counterproductive when dealing with change. As humans, we are not very good at changing. We see change as something negative that creates instability and insecurity. This is the reason why a normal change management process often evolves through eight different mental phases:
Denial: We will fight the change to protect the status quo.
Frustration: When we realize that we cannot avoid the change, we become insecure.
Negotiation: We try to save what we can.
Depression: We realize that none of the old ways can be incorporated into the new.
Acceptance: We accept the change, and start to mentally prepare ourselves.
Experimentation: We try to find new ways, and gradually remove the old barriers.
Discovery: We realize that the change will improve our future possibilities.
Implementation. We finally implement the change process.
A change management process evolves through a number of mental phases.
3. Origins of the Field
How should we implement change within our organization? To answer this question, we have to look at the origins of change management in the 1950s and the rivalry between advocates of top-down approaches and bottom-up approaches.
Top-down organizations are characterized by the relatively low influence of subsystems. With the exception of the top management, employees are placed in a given process pattern. The organization’s units are coordinated within a system of regulations and the organization’s development is steered from top-down.
In a top-down approach, strategic direction, policy, and planning occur at or just below the highest level of a company.
For example, a company’s board of directors may develop and pass down its expectations in the form of strategic plans. From the strategic plans, company management develops the policies and action plans required to meet the strategic goals and passes them on down to the line management and supervisors.
Bottom-up organizations are characterized by the relatively high influence of subsystems. The organization’s development is carried by involved employees. A structural partial autonomy is conceded to the single subsystems. The organizations’ units are relatively independent in their execution of problems and could be basically capable of surviving on their own. Regulations are found primarily in the form of general behavioral instructions and the basis of “Common Sense”. The organization’s development is, therefore, developing itself bottom-up.
In a bottom-up organizational approach, a company develops its policies, plans and directions from ideas, suggestions and solutions contributed from all levels of the company, inclusively encouraging employee participation in decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic planning.
More and more companies are using the bottom-up management style in their daily work. Companies like The New York Times, Ernst & Young and IBM are implementing elements of the management style throughout their hierarchy. These companies each offer unique methods of including employees at all levels of the decision-making process. The popularity of the bottom-up approach is growing, but many organizations are still hesitant to adopt it.
Comparing the bottom-up and top-down approaches, the advantage of a bottom-up orientation lies with the possibility of adapting the rhythm of the development and the capacity of the organization for development. Small changes can be achieved at short notice or immediately while lasting changes run smoothly and could guarantee a constant improvement of the problem-solving capacity of the enterprise. On the other hand, permanent change processes and the constant restlessness linked with such change processes can also affect negatively the organisation, as possibly no clear direction is recognizable any longer.
Few enterprises are ready for a radical change in their orientation as demanded in a top-down approach. No organization is able to reorganize itself and the whole value-added chain ad hoc. Frequently the longevity of the soft factor “enterprise culture” is underestimated. Changes in the enterprise culture need time and, hence, are an object of evolutionary and participative approach and not a revolutionary and authoritarian process. The advantages of the top-down approach are the straight-forward attempt of comprehensive, department-covering thinking and action and the focus on the central processes.
Nowadays, within modern change management approaches, top-down and bottom-up approaches are mixed. Analysis and the strategy development is mainly done top-down whereas continuous process improvement is driven from the bottom-up. A constant dialogue between the involved parties guarantees constant improvement and focusing on the core requirements. In most modern companies top-down and bottom-up approaches are mixed.
4. Change Models
Change management models are useful in that they describe and simplify a process so that we can understand and apply the principles. The top models of change management described in this chapter have proven their value but all focus on very different processes and outcomes.
Lewin: Three-Stage Model
Kurt Lewin’s three-stage model is the most famous model of change. His model has come to be known as the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze Model. He noted that the majority of people tend to prefer and operate within certain zones of safety.
Lewin recognized three stages of change:
Unfreeze: Most people make an active effort to resist change. In order to overcome this tendency, a period of thawing or unfreezing must be initiated through motivation.
Change (also titled Transition or Move): Once change is initiated, the company moves into a transition period, which may last for some time. Adequate leadership and reassurance are necessary for the process to be successful.
Refreeze: After change has been accepted and successfully implemented, the company becomes stable again, and staff refreezes as they operate under the new guidelines.
While this change management model remains widely used today, it is takes time to implement. Of course, since it is easy to use, most companies tend to prefer this model to enact major changes. Lewin’s model will be discussed later in this course (Chapter 5) in more detail.
Lewin’s theory of change used blocks of ice as a metaphor. If you have a large cube of ice but you want is a cone of ice, what do you do? First, you must melt the ice to make it amenable to change (unfreeze). Then you must mold the iced water into the shape you want (change). Finally, you must solidify the new shape (refreeze).
Kotter: 8-Step Change Model
Since the publication of his highly regarded book, Leading Change, Harvard Professor John Kotter has been highly regarded as a recognized global expert on change leadership. Kotter’s model builds on the work of earlier researchers like Kurt Lewin by providing a fuller context for implementing change in modern organizations.
Kotter’s eight-step model explains the process leaders can follow to effectively lead change in their organizations. It’s a broad model that covers topics that include communication, planning, team building, senior leadership sponsorship, organizational reward systems, influence and negotiation, and organizational behavior.
The 8 steps in Kotter’s model are as follows:
Increase urgency: Inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
Build coalitions: Get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
Get the vision right: Get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy focus on the emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
Communicate: Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials simply, to appeal and respond to people’s needs. De-clutter communications – make technology work for you rather than against you.
Empowerment actions: Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders – reward and recognize progress and achievements.
Create short-term wins: Set aims that are easy to achieve – in bite-size chunks. A manageable number of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones.
Don’t let up: Foster and encourage determination and persistence – ongoing change – encourage ongoing progress reporting – highlight achieved and future milestones.
Make it stick: Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, and new change leaders. Weave change into culture.
Each of the steps that Kotter outlines in his process is important, but none may be as crucial as the first one. Kotter noted that for change to happen at least 75% of the company’s management has to be on board. That’s why it is so important to take the time and effort to build the urgency necessary to get others to buy-in to your change-related projects.
McKinsey: 7-S Model
Consultants at McKinsey & Company developed the 7-S Model in the late 1970s to help managers address the difficulties of organizational change. The model shows that organizational immune systems and the many interconnected variables involved make change complex and that an effective change effort must address many of these issues simultaneously.
The 7-S Model is a tool for managerial analysis and action that provides a structure with which to consider a company as a whole so that the organization’s problems may be diagnosed and a strategy may be developed and implemented. The model looks at the seven key elements that make the organizations successful:
As depicted in the image above, the McKinsey 7-S model involves seven interdependent factors which are categorized as either “hard” or “soft” elements.
“Hard” elements are easier to define or identify and management can directly influence them: these are strategy statements; organization charts and reporting lines; and formal processes and IT systems.
“Soft” elements, on the other hand, can be more difficult to describe, and are less tangible and more influenced by culture. However, these soft elements are as important as the hard elements if the organization is going to be successful.
The 7-S Model illustrates the interconnections of elements that define an organization’s ability to change. This theory helped to change managers’ thinking about how companies could be improved. It says that it is not just a matter of devising a new strategy and following it through. To be effective, your organization must have a high degree of it or internal alignment among all the seven Ss.
Each S must be consistent with and reinforce the other Ss. All Ss are interrelated, so a change in one has a ripple effect on all the others. It is impossible to make progress on one without making progress on all. Thus, to improve your organization, you have to master systems thinking and pay attention to all of the seven elements at the same time.
The 7-S Model is a valuable tool to initiate change processes and to give them direction. A helpful application is to determine the current state of each element and to compare this with the ideal state. Based on this it is possible to develop action plans to achieve the intended state:
To help with successful organisational change, the 7-S Model is a good tool to use, especially in the following sequence:
Understand the current state: Where are we now? What is our current strategy? How are we performing?
Understand the future state: Where do you want to go? What is the strategy? How competitive will you be?
Create a 7-S Model review on the current state: Understand all the current elements with the organization at present.
Create a 7-S Model review on the future state: What would the seven elements look like if they were all in tandem to suit the new direction?
Compare the future framework with the current state and create a plan to address the actions to fill the gaps in each of the 7 elements.
Gleicher: Change Formula
The Change Formula is a mathematical representation of the change process, developed by David Gleicher and Kathie Dannemiller.
The basic notion is that, for change to occur, the costs of change must be outweighed by dissatisfaction with the status quo, the desirability of the proposed change, and the practicality of the change.
The equation says three factors must be present before meaningful change can take place:
D = Dissatisfaction with the status quo. Simply continuing with things is not an option.
V = Vision of what is possible. There is at least a vague sense of a better future.
F = First practical steps that can be taken towards the vision. These steps have to be concrete and acceptable.
(D × V × F) > R
If any of these factors D, V, and F are missing then the others are canceled out and you will not be able to overcome resistance (R). And if the multiplication of these three factors is greater than R – the resistance to change – then change becomes possible.
When planning for change you need to make sure all three factors are present before you start. When trouble-shooting during a change you can use the formula to work out why you may be having problems. It also provides a useful evaluation tool to assess the final outcome.
Each individual factor can be scored using surveys and questioning methods, or even simpler, through estimation of individual opinions and moods. However, measuring the factors of the model is incredibly subjective.
In a short example, we measure all three factors on a scale from 0 (low) to 1 (high):
Dissatisfaction: 0.3 (people are quite satisfied with the current situation)
Vision: 0.9 (people do share the vision for change)
First Steps: 0.9 (first steps are very concrete)
Because D, V, and F are multiplied, if any one is absent (zero) or low, then the product will be zero or low and therefore not capable of overcoming the resistance. If the resistance to change is stronger than the combined weight of the three factors (0.24), change will not be possible.
5. The Change Process
The change management process is the sequence of steps that a manager needs to follow to apply change management to a project. Kurt Lewin proposed the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze Model, which was briefly discussed in chapter 4.
A basic tendency of people is to seek a context in which they have relative safety and feel a sense of control. In establishing themselves, they attach their sense of identity to their environment. This creates a comfortable stasis from which any alternatives, even those which may offer significant benefits, will cause discomfort.
The term ‘change ready’ is often used to describe people who are unfrozen and ready to take the next step. Some people come ready for change whilst others take a long time to let go of their comfortable current realities.
Here are some ways to make it happen:
Burning platform: Expose or create a crisis
Command: Just tell them to move
Evidence: Hard data is difficult to ignore
Restructuring: Redesign the organization to force behavior change
Envisioning: Done well, visions work to create change
A key part of Lewin’s model is the notion that change, even at the psychological level, is a journey rather than a simple step. This journey may not be that simple and the person may need to go through several stages of misunderstanding before they get to the other side.
A classic trap in achieving change is for leaders to spend months on their own personal journeys and then expect everyone else to cross the chasm in a single bound. Transitioning thus requires time. Leadership is often important and when whole organizations change, the one-eyed person may consider himself a “king”. In such a case, some form of coaching, counseling or other psychological support will often be very helpful.
Although the transition may be hard for the individual, often the hardest part is to make a start. Even when a person is unfrozen and ready for change, that first step can be very scary. People become comfortable in temporary situations where they are not accountable for the hazards of normal work and where talking about change may be substituted for real action.
Challenge: Inspire them to achieve remarkable things
First steps: Make it easy to get going
Involvement: Give them an important role
Open space: People talking about what concerns them
Shift-and-sync: Change a bit – then pause
At the other end of the journey, the final goal is to ‘refreeze’, to establish a new place of stability. In practice, refreezing may be a slow process as transitions seldom stop cleanly, but go more in fits and starts with a long tail of bits and pieces. There are good and bad things about this.
In modern organizations, this stage is often rather tentative as the next change may well be just around the corner. What is often encouraged, then, is more a state of ‘slushiness’, where freezing is never really achieved (theoretically making the next unfreezing easier).
The danger with this is that many organizations have found that people fall into a state of ‘change shock’, where they work at a low level of efficiency and effectiveness as they await the next change. ‘It’s not worth it’ is a common phrase when asked to improve what they do.
Burning bridges: Ensure there is no way back
Evidence stream: Show them time and again that the change is real
Golden handcuffs: Put rewards in their middle-term future
Institutionalization: Build change into the formal systems and structures
Reward alignment: Align rewards with desired behaviors
6. Strategies and Skills
Managing the kinds of changes encountered by and instituted within organizations requires an unusually broad set of skills and strategies. In this chapter, we will briefly discuss the most essential change skills and change strategies that managers need to master today.
Every effective change manager needs a set of specific skills:
1. Political Skills Organizations are social systems. Therefore, organizations are intensely political. Change agents dare not join in this game but they have to understand it. Managers and employees have to deal with conflicts and to compromise on disputes on a daily basis. This is one area where you must make your own judgments and keep your own counsel.
2. Analytical Skills Furthermore, change agents need advanced analytical skills. Two particular sets of skills are very important here: systems analysis and financial analysis. Change agents must learn to take apart and reassemble operations and systems in novel ways, and then determine the financial and political impacts.
3. People Skills People are the most important resource of an organization. The skills most needed in this area are those that typically fall under the heading of communication or interpersonal skills. To be effective, we must be able to listen and listen actively, to restate, to reflect, to clarify without interrogating, to lead or channel a discussion, to plant ideas, and to develop them. Part of the job of a change agent is to reconcile and resolve the conflict between and among different points of view.
4. System Skills Every organization can be seen as a system. In the past, managers typically took one part and focused on that. Then they moved all attention to another part. Systems theory has brought a new perspective for managers: Now, more managers are recognizing the interrelations of the parts. There are two sets of system skills to be mastered: Computers and the larger, information processing systems (in which computers are so often embedded) are generally known as hard systems. Compensation systems, appraisal systems, promotion systems, and reward and incentive systems in a company are soft systems. A good change agent understands that both system types are important.
5. Business Skills Finally, every change agent should understand how a business works. This entails a basic understanding of accounting (where the money comes from and where it goes), knowledge of markets and marketing, products and product development, customers, sales, buying and selling, as well as human resource management.
Effective change managers need to master 1. political skills, 2. analytical skills, 3. people skills, 4. system skills, and 5. business skills.
For successfully leading and completing a project, various strategies can be applied. When deciding which strategy to follow, the manager needs to take specific characterizations of the organization (type of business, age of employees, etc.) into account.
1. Directive Strategies This strategy highlights the manager’s right to manage change and the use of authority to impose change with little or no involvement of other people. The advantage of the directive approach is that change can be undertaken quickly. However, the disadvantage of this approach is that it does not take into consideration the views or feelings of those involved in the imposed change. This approach may lead to valuable information and ideas being missed and there is strong resentment from staff when changes are imposed rather than discussed.
2. Expert Strategies This approach sees the management of change as a problem-solving process that needs to be resolved by an ‘expert’. This strategy is mainly applied to more technical problems and will normally be led by a specialist project team or an outside consultant. The advantages of utilizing this strategy are that experts play a major role in the solution and the solution can be implemented quickly as a small number of ‘experts’ are involved. Again, there are some issues in relation to this strategy as those affected may have different views than those of the expert.
3. Negotiating Strategies This approach highlights the willingness on the part of senior managers to negotiate and bargain in order to effect change. This strategy acknowledges that those affected by the change have the right to have a say in what changes are made, how they are implemented and the expected outcomes. The disadvantage of this approach is that it takes more time to effect change and the outcomes cannot be predicted. The advantage is that individuals will feel involved in the change and be more supportive of the changes made.
4. Educative Strategies This approach involves changing people’s values and beliefs in order for them to fully support the changes being made and move toward the development of a shared set of organizational values which individuals are willing, and able to support. A mixture of activities will be used: persuasion; education; training and selection, led by consultants, specialists, and in-house experts. The disadvantage of this approach is that it takes longer to implement. The advantage is that individuals within the organization will have positive commitment to the changes being made.
5. Participative Strategies This strategy stresses the full involvement of all of those involved in the anticipated changes. The process will be less management-dominated and driven more by groups or individuals within the organization. The main disadvantages of this process are the length of time taken before any changes are made. However, the benefits of this approach are that any changes made are more likely to be supported due to the involvement of all those affected. The organization and individuals also have the opportunity to learn from this experience, thus increasing their skills, knowledge, and effectiveness.
Best Strategy? These five change strategies are not mutually exclusive and a range of strategies can be employed to effect change. Part of the skill of effective change management is to recognize what strategy to employ, and when, where and how to use it. Other issues such as health and safety, accessibility and union representation may also need to be taken into consideration when deciding what strategy to adopt.
But no matter which model is used, it has to be supported and clearly communicated by the top management. The executive board has to act as a role model and should start the change process by directly communicating with the people affected by the change. The executive board has to confirm the changed strategy, organization and business culture by being an example and they have to be supportive of the departments and managers affected.
7. Failure or Success?
There are a number of reasons why some change projects fail while others succeed. In this chapter, we will take a look at the most common failure and success factors. Keeping these factors in mind will enhance your chances to successfully complete change projects within your organization.
1. Insufficient Awareness A change process never begins without reason. Mostly there is a trigger for change processes. Triggers can be diverse, like new legal requirements, increasing competition or internal reasons. Normally these triggers are discussed extensively amongst top management. This way, awareness of existing problems and the necessity to make changes arise. In practice, only part of the information makes its way to the lower leadership level. The lower level manager and his or her employees afterward often see little necessity for change.
There are some more reasons which also depend upon information flow. New executives in a company try to protect workers from disturbance and difficulties so that they are more productive and can work undisturbed. But this buffering or protection is often misunderstood. If the workers do not have a transparent view of the situation of the company, it is unlikely that they will support the change process.
2. Insufficient Communication In most change projects, the biggest mistakes are made in the area of communication. Experience shows that at the beginning, during, and at the realization of changes the communication frequency is often too low. Change processes require information events and sometimes discussion forums. Information is also provided only in part. It is even more harmful if the relevant information is published step-by-step.
3. Inappropriate Procedure The wish to involve employees in an “eat or die” mentality is often found in IT projects. In such a project, employees must work with the new software or hardware, regardless of whether they were involved or not in its implementation. This style of management is extremely bad. Employees do not obtain any information about the progress of the change-project and are informed later only e.g. by a mail about the use of the new software. Often employees will boycott the new system and use it as little as possible.
Further examples of an inappropriate procedure or a “bad style”, which should be avoided, include ignoring objections or counterarguments, making remarks in public about opposite doubters, and presentation of incorrect facts in support of the wanted change. This behavior is counterproductive and is often returned in kind by the concerned persons, normally as a boomerang, by actively delaying the targeted changes or letting them fail altogether.
4. Workload and Speed Every enterprise and every organization needs continuous adaptation to changed general conditions and factors in order to survive in the present markets or in the environment of the organization. Correspondingly, the tact of change processes is often set by outside factors.
With the high speed of change processes and the high number of changes, more “speed mistakes” are surfacing. Changes are often initiated too early (the company, the employees or customers are not ready) or realized too late (product was introduced already by other enterprises). In addition, people can stand only a certain amount of change at a certain time. If this amount is being extended, the people won’t go on. This may not be immediately externally recognizable. It can also appear in the form of fewer motivations.
5. Lack of Control If a change process is initiated, one should also pay attention to the sustainability of the targeted changes. In many cases, too little controlling attention is paid during implementation. Sometimes it is difficult to measure the success of the implementation, especially when employee behavior should be taken into account.
Furthermore, the problem of accountability can be added. Even if customer contentment or business numbers increase, how can one prove that this is associated with the realization of a new strategy or structure? There can be many other good reasons for such developments and these could lie outside the enterprise. Therefore controlling real results requires some complex and extensive instruments.
1. Build a Business Case A Business Case is the description of the reasons for the project and the justification for doing it. The Business Case should set out the problem or situation addressed by the proposal, the implementation plan, the expected costs, the anticipated outcomes and benefits and the expected risks associated with the proposal’s implementation. The Business Case Process should ensure that both the value and risks inherent in the proposed project are clear in that the delivery of the outcomes and benefits can be tracked and measured.
2. Determine Readiness There are some tools to evaluate how ready your organization is or if you will need to conduct a pre-change intervention. If you can answer most of the following questions with “yes” your company is ready for the change:
Are the organization’s top managers strong supporters of this change?
Do I understand what is wrong with the way things are now?
Do I have all the information I need to get on board with this change and I understand the sense of urgency?
Do I have a clear picture of how the organization will be different after the change has been implemented
Do I know where to go for help if I have questions, concerns, or challenges related to the change?
If the results indicate that your organization is not ready for a change, pre-changes have to be made.
3. Improve Communication Communication is one of the most important factors in the change process. It has already been mentioned that poor communication has a deep impact on the success of a change. Poor communications will at best hinder progress and at worst sink the project. There is another tool to make sure that everybody knows what is and will be going on in the upcoming change process: The Communication Plan.
There are a lot of different ways in which to communicate. Bulletin boards, cafeteria postings, cascading communication trees, change booklets, corporate newsletters (feature section), department or enterprise meetings, emails, focus groups, frequently asked questions memos, intranet pop-ups, leaflets, one-on-one meetings, posters, presentations, project newsletters, roadshows, team meetings, word of mouth and workshops should be utilized. Participants indicated that face-to-face communications were the most effective. Face-to-face interactions included group and team meetings, presentations and demonstrations and one-on-one discussions.
Communication should always be open and “risk-free”, where employees can ask questions. Also, using different types of communication is better than just using one channel.
4. Involve Stakeholders One of the most important things in change management is to get people involved. One thing is to get senior management on your side. Without this high-level buy-in, change will often fail. So before you start make sure that you have the support of management.
On the other hand, there are the employees. They need to feel like being part of the changes they are involved in. Keep them involved and informed about changes you are trying to make. Often people who are affected by change processes are not really involved, which has primarily two results: Fear of loss of time and too little know-how of the means by which to integrate the many concerned persons. Possible losses of time are relocated in the case of nearer consideration. In fact, the integration of stakeholders takes time, but normally it costs more time if the realization of the change process slows down if people do not believe in the change.
5. Review the Change After the change project is implemented a review of the change is necessary. It is important to get the opinions of the participants in order to ascertain whether they are satisfied with the change. Also, a review will provide you with important information that can be used in upcoming change projects. This will improve further change projects and help to avoid mistakes.
One solution could be a workshop with the people who are directly involved with the implementation. All the people who are affected by the changes should have an opportunity to relate their experiences. The main for this is that the success of the change process can be measured by this method, but also that employees are given the certainty that their opinion is valued.