Change Management: where do we start?
CHANGE Management: wHERe do we start?
We often end up in the middle of change before we know it. When trying to find the best, more efficient, most effective way to tackle a problem, the solution is often something different than what has been happening in the past. The old adage “people don’t like change” is commonly demonstrated during these adjustments.
Knowing that change is a part of life, and sometimes growth, we must do our best to overcome these hurdles and excite change in those around us. It’s hard to stay relevant and have a true competitive advantage without it. And sometimes, the research and process behind it may even return you to your old ways. Taking new ideas into consideration isn’t signing them into effect immediately.
Within the process, ensure due diligence is done to understand the situation and research the pros and cons. Create a clear plan that involves the right people and doing things at the right time. And if a commitment is made to evaluate or make change, set the precedence for your entire team to be onboard.
“Ok, that’s just great!”, you say! But want to know how?
Below is the first of two blogs with some common steps to creating an effective change management process. The bigger the change the more time spent on each step and potentially the more resources such as people and money.
What: Get to the bottom of your problem by knowing what it is you are trying to solve and what outcome you desire. Understand if there is a current process or solution that just isn’t working or could be tweaked.
Why: A big part in getting engagement in change is helping others to realize why they want that change. Why does anyone care?
When: How long do you have to make it so? Considering how big the problem is or how much time, money, and people-power you have can help you make this decision. Goals are a great thing to set even if they end up being revised or adjusted as new information is uncovered.
Who: Who is involved in the process as a stakeholder or a trusted advisor of the process? Who will manage the process and who can be your champion? Maybe you need someone from each department or division of the organization. These folks are important in getting others on board and buying into the change! Sometimes it is smart to start with the person who may object the most to overcome their fears and determine if the solution is viable.
Will it make their lives easier in the long run but harder in the beginning? Is this a pain point for everyone or just one part of the team? Finding this out and reinforcing it often is necessary for every step.
Resources: Tools and processes that you can utilize to help gather information or test and measure as you move forward. Documented and agreed upon outcomes. I highly suggest an operating agreement for the committee or team so that people have a clear picture of how to interact with each other and potential new or old systems.
Conflicts: Expected road bumps, loss of jobs, objections by staff, etc.
For complex projects a deeper dive into the culture of your group or organization can save you a LOT of trouble in the long run. Understanding the impact change will have, the good and the bad, can help to anticipate challenges and how to be proactive.
A clear picture of current policies, how well they are documented and adopted, your points of culture, vision, mission, dynamics within the organization, goals and priorities will be of great use.
With your change team, identify skills and assign ownership to roles and leadership. Be prepared for risks in setting change in motion such as senior team members not wanting a new process or if there are people and their functions whose departure would cause great harm to the business of the organization. [You may want to check out this article on succession planning if so.]