Seven Key Pillars to Successful Change Management!

No matter how efficient newly proposed business processes are and how well the IT infrastructure supports those new processes, no business environment will be successful without people engagement.

 

A company must be able to predict how its workforce will react to change, both operational and technological. It is natural for people to resist change since as human beings, we get used to doing things a certain way. To overcome resistance, an effective change management process gives employees a big picture, provides channels for feedback and gets down to the nitty-gritty of how their efforts will help make things better. More and more companies are realizing the importance of change management and move towards its utilizing change management in its projects and campaigns. However, a research from McKinsey and Company shows that 70% of all organizational change efforts fail.

 

There could be many reasons behind the failure; varying from a weak culture that isn’t aligned with the mission, lack of participation and buy-in, under-communicating or not having enough training or resources, etc.

 

Ultimately, successful change management involves getting people to commit to or own a change. Enough attention should be focused on the ‘people’ component of the change.

 

Prosci Inc., a world-leading Change Management research and publishing company, listed in one of their papers the seven change management best practices; which in turn are the top contributors to successful change management in any organization.

Active and visible leaders

 

A positive leader who actively guides others in the organization through the transition is a key component of successful change management. Employees need to be continuously motivated to carry out the transition and be rest assured that all the leaders are aligned in terms of setting up work priorities. Hence, it is critical that a coalition of senior leaders commit to and involve themselves in the design, communication, and implementation of an initiative.

Detailed plan and structured approach 

 

Before undertaking any change, a business needs to have a clear mission for the change. A solid direction makes employees more likely to accept and embrace changes. Organizations also need to develop a detailed strategy for moving from the current state to the desired state. Applying a change management approach provides the structure necessary to stay on track, to make sure time is spent on meaningful activities.

Appointed Person-in-charge and allocated funding

 

Having a structured approach is critical, but initiatives and projects also need dedicated resources and funding so the change management work can get done. This means having access to:

 

  • The appropriate amount of funding and resources
  • Dedicated resources (personnel) with change management experience
  • A change team or community of flexible, decisive and collaborative individuals

Communicate, communicate, communicate

 

The most crucial factor in changing anything within a business is to communicate the change. It sets a tone of transparency and openness within the organization. Consistent communication is important to reinforce key messages, which should relate to the higher-level objectives and vision for the change. The following are some the factors contributing to effective communication:

 

  • Delivering change messages in a timely and transparent manner
  • Tailoring messages for the intended audience
  • Including clear and compelling reasons for the change and the implications of not changing
  • Using effective channels and communicating frequently

Engaged Employees

 

People are at the core of any successful change. It is crucial to make employees aware of the need for change. Involving employees early, often, and in a meaningful way helps reduce barriers to change by creating psychological ownership, promoting the dissemination of critical information, and encouraging employee feedback. The goal is to encourage employees to demonstrate a willingness to participate in the change and collaborate with the people administrating the change.

Change + Project Management

 

More and more organizations are realizing the value of integrating project management and change management. These complementary disciplines naturally cross paths throughout the lifecycle of a project. Through integration both parts will be more effective in sequencing work, aligning the timing of activities and exchanging information which is crucial to the success of the project. Instances of the integration process:

 

  • Adding change management activities to the project plan
  • Working collaboratively with the project team
  • Aligning change plans with project plans
  • Assigning responsibilities and roles
  • Providing change management training to the project team

Middle Management Buy-in

 

Middle management is essential in a change process. Managers can become the greatest ally in times of change because they are closest to employees impacted by the change. Due to their positions, they are more attuned to what the workforce will embrace, or even resist. By thoroughly addressing this group in a change plan, resistance can be mitigated, and managers will be able to drive change.