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April 11, 2017
5 Keys to Successfully Implementing Change in Organizations
By Laura Garay, Talent Analyst
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Change is something that all of us eventually go through, both in our personal and work lives. It’s not uncommon to find that many people are “change-weary” when it comes to altering the way things get done within their daily routine. While some people can embrace change, others can become apprehensive, even over the smallest of changes. However, no one can deny that technology is changing at a rapid pace, and businesses must keep up in order to survive, at the least, and remain innovative. In order to stay relevant, organizations must implement change that will allow them to stay ahead of the curve, holding a competitive advantage over outdated competitors. Here are 5 keys to making sure change efforts are implemented successfully in organizations.

Transmit a sense of need & a vision for the change: Most people don’t tend to embrace change for the mere sake of it. Instead, when a solid case is presented, then the need for a change is accepted successfully. At times, it can be helpful to make it clear that the need for change stems from business goals, business strategies or even customer and/or employee satisfaction surveys.

The transition is easier if this need is associated with a vision that is easily understood and remembered by employees. Keep in mind that people usually respond better when they are both emotionally and mentally engaged, so it’s important to let them know their collaboration is needed and appreciated.  Make sure they know that they are a part of something important that will bear consequences. Be clear on the upside of doing things a new way and the downside of leaving things as they are.

Communicate constantly and strategically:
Communicating the need for change is just as important as explaining the timeline of events and the order in which the changes will take place. When communication is unclear or poor, it can pave the way for rumors to settle in, and these can bring resistance to change. This resistance may happen as a result of fear of the unknown or of the impact the change will have on them or fear of loss of control and helplessness.

Involve & engage collaborators:
There is no question that C-suite sponsorship is crucial in every change or innovation initiative. Nonetheless, change efforts must include the involvement of collaborators from both the frontline and mid-level as well. It is no secret that often times employees know the most about their processes and can have valuable input that can help in the planning, design and implementation process. In addition, keep in mind that informal leaders also make powerful allies. Employees can look up to them due to their charisma, expertise and other qualities that make them highly influential. These individuals can become ambassadors for change.

Train, assess & remove roadblocks:
Even though it is very important to provide clear communication about the rollout of changes that will take place, it is even more important to provide the proper training tools, documentation, and supplies for the employees who will manage the processes affected by change. It’s very helpful to monitor and assess how the new processes are working in order put corrective maneuvers in place if needed. Barriers and roadblocks are no strangers to change process. However, the origin and magnitude of the barriers may vary from case to case. Sometimes, it’s due to people’s resistance to change or difficult relations between departments. Other times it is due to a lack of training or even lack of supplies—or a combination of them all. Once barriers are detected, it is important to get feedback and find ways to work around or remove the obstacles until the desired result is reached.

Celebrate key milestones:
Acknowledging key milestones and celebrating them with the people who have been involved will result in their eagerness to participate as well as the feeling of being appreciated. Creating this positive experience allows the participants to feel that the change is safe and that they can pave the way for bigger, deeper changes along the way.

 

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