Mergers, buy-outs, restructurings, oh my! These and many other disruptive changes are more and more commonplace in today’s business landscape, and can literally transform a company overnight. Ironically, they are typically entered into as a means to remain competitive or to boost financial viability, but often can be derailed by a poor or nonexistent change management strategy.
The good news is, a clear and well-planned change management strategy can go a long way in removing potential roadblocks. Here are eight steps to creating an effective change management approach:
1. Create Your Vision
Define your organization’s mission statement. Consider the following questions: Why is the change necessary? What needs to change? What outcomes do we want from the change? Complete an impact analysis assessment to determine how change will affect the organization. Use bold actions and initiatives to propel change. Consider key strategies that will be used.
2. Define Leadership and Team Roles
Identifying the project community is essential in shaping your strategy and plan. Clear roles and responsibilities are needed to minimize redundancy and ensure all responsibilities are covered. Do not assign roles based on availability rather than competence. Assign a change process leader, executive team, and a change leadership team. Utilize talent and team assessments to identify who in the organization has the right skills, competencies, and behavioral traits to drive real change and excel in each role.
3. Identify Resources
Don’t overlook the need to secure effective resources for the transformation or initiative. Even the smallest intervention will have unanticipated influences on other parts of the organization so it’s important to identify and engage subject matter experts to help drive the process. Take time to identify and secure the needed resources for successful change in the following areas: information technology, training, equipment, space requirements, and consulting support.
4. Create Your Change Strategy
Identify important milestones and your estimated timeline for each of them. Build into the plan frequent formal reviews of the transformation project. For most initiatives, a formal review at least every eight weeks is prudent. However, some more complex projects may require a more frequent review schedule. Scheduling milestones and assessing their impact are the best way by which executives can review the execution of projects, identify challenges, and spot new risks. This view of events will then help the leaders make an informed guess about a general timeline for the transformation.
5. Determine Measurements of Effectiveness
Decide what you will measure, such as timeliness, goal achievement, responsiveness, etc. Choose the standards of measurement you will use, including frequency, speed, improvements, cost-savings, and more. Also, determine what methods of measurement will be used, such as interviews, surveys, input, data analytics, etc. Using a team effectiveness assessment to measure strengths and gaps of teams involved in the change can help create the most impactful, performance-driving teams.
6. Develop Your Communication Plan
The change process typically requires normal communication channels to be enlarged and more frequent. Communication must be honest and ongoing to build commitment and keep up momentum. Remember that your employees and other stakeholders will want information and answers more than ever during a time of transformation. It will be important to share information on a regular basis to avoid rumors and misinformation that can occur during this time.
7. Celebrate and Reward Success
Try to remain upbeat and positive by creating and celebrating both small and big wins throughout the transformation. Celebrating allows people to enjoy the fruits of their labor and provides an opportunity to reinforce the new culture of the organization. During times of transition or change, it is critical to compensate your employees for their extra effort, and don’t be afraid to get creative!
8. Establish Best Practices
Assessing the transformation process, once it is effectively implemented, will provide great insight to help clarify what worked well with your change process and what did not. Take a change process assessment to identify what worked well with your transformation effort and what could be done better next time. Be sure to articulate the connections between new behaviors or processes and organizational success, and make these visible to reinforce long-term success.
XBInsight has partnered with hundreds of clients to ensure the talent aspect of their transformation or change is addressed and maximized. To learn more about our talent solutions during change initiatives, read how we partnered with the third largest staffing firm in the U.S., Randstad, during their merger and acquisition.