How do you know if the change process that you have initiated will be effective and sustainable? Building a new culture for lasting change can be time consuming, fragile and complex. Manage change more effectively with the five below tips.
1. Articulate an ‘head to heart to hand’ vision for change
At the head, as a leader, ensure that your staff understands why change is needed. To do so, communicate an inspiring vision for change that combines most of the following characteristics:
- provides a sense of significance,
- is grounded on business knowledge,
- is concrete and specific,
- stretches people,
- has a clear destination,
- presents a clear contrast between the current conditions and the preferred future,
- is focused on the medium- to long-term.
At the heart, trust and empower leaders to plan, monitor and improve the change process.
At the hand, ensure your employees embrace change and contribute to it operationally.
2. Involve people at all levels in a way that suits them
People are at the heart of change. They will embrace it and make it happen, oppose it or will remain neutral, neither supportive nor defensive.
Use the enclosed change management matrix to visualize the readiness towards change, expectations, and concerns, of all people who will be impacted by or influence the change – alias your stakeholders.
Create then around people the infrastructure to support change: adapted performance management and reward systems, procedures and organizational structures.
3. Coach your agents of change
Your best driving forces behind the change are people dedicated to the success of the project who can influence your employees. Inform and coach them so that they can understand human reaction to change and master persuasion techniques. They should be able to handle people’s resistance to change using various strategies such as co-opting, counseling, education and negotiation.
4. Run your change management campaign one step at a time
Announce your vision through a slick communication plan. While you do so, ensure you are managing the moods and reinforcing good habits to preserve a receptive climate for change and avoid backsliding into routine and negative behaviors:
- acknowledge employees’ feelings and efforts,
- incentivize and reward achievements,
- maintain a balance between good and bad forward-looking news,
- promote day-to-day examples.
5. Measure and communicate progress, adapt continuously
Consider the three following dimensions:
- track your progress in the project management, business performance, and communication,
- monitor closely employee morale and stakeholder commitment, especially of your change agents,
- create corrective action plans to improve anything that is not going according to plan.
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