Holding team members accountable to the expectations you’ve set and within clear boundaries gives employees a sense of security which in turn makes them more likely to engage in the changes taking place.
We all know the stats of change programs, and we know that when change isn’t handled well people get frustrated and leave. We also know that using a robust approach to change management is 6X more likely to give us success.
We know that keeping people informed during change is essential, AND we know that we have to lead change as a priority if we want success… yet change still doesn’t go well in many organisations.
Here are ten things you are do in your organisation today to help create better outcomes for your people, processes and projects.
1. Diagnose the Problem
Before change can take place, a problem has to be identified. John Kotter calls this the ‘burning platform’. Essentially there needs to be a real reason for change (that can be clearly communicated) or people will see through the charade.
2. Lead with the Culture
If there’s one thing we know to be true… your culture will impact your change management process. It’s up to you how. Understanding what your culture strengths and barriers are when starting a change program enables you to leverage the good and avoid the bad. Some changes, when managed well, may even become a drive of culture change.
3. Start at the Top
If you want change in your organisation your people at the top must lead it. This means that they are visually engaged in the changes, speaking honestly and openly about them, and showing vulnerability. If your people don’t see the top actively changing, and the vulnerability that comes with change (ie: screwing up, circling back and trying again) in their leaders they will believe the leaders are all smoke and mirrors and not to be trusted.
4. Involve Every Layer
While a good change approach must start at the top, everyone else must be involved not too long after. The earlier you get your people involved the better. Your people will be able to showcase the logistical, technical, customer or people impact concerns that executives may not see or fully understand because of their position.
5. It takes a Village
You’ve heard the statement “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well it takes a village to make a change. Change leaders cannot get everyone on board themselves. Having a mix of external resources providing expertise who are guiding and mentoring a key group of internal people with influence, is the one of the best methods of change. These groups help disperse message about the changes, put people at ease, and get their own teams on board.
6. Provide Clear Instructions
Here’s what people need to make change – a reason for the change, the desire to change, and the ability to make the change. That means if you want a change to happen you need to give the people the skills, knowledge, tools, resources to change and ensure the environment is set up to enable the change (eg the barriers are gone and the new processes facilitate, not disable, the change).
It is vital for business leaders in charge of change management to ensure that all levels of employees are held accountable for how the implement new methods. Leaders have to set clear expectations and clearly communicate these expectations. Holding team members accountable to the expectations you’ve set and within clear boundaries gives employees a sense of security which in turn makes them more likely to engage in the changes taking place.
8. Celebrate Milestones
Change can be overwhelming and difficult, that is why it is essential for business leaders to acknowledge positive steps all employees are making in transitions. This can be through a company gathering, team celebrations, or a simple “thank you,” to let people know their efforts are seen, acknowledged and appreciated.
9. Ongoing Support
Just because the project has launched doesn’t mean the change management is over. The project management may have come to a close, but the real work in adopting new ways of working has usually just begun. Leaders must ensure that they check in with their people regularly, hold them accountable for the new ways of working and address new barriers. Its also useful to mark the end of the transition period with a celebration… but don’t forget leadership of people and change is a daily activity.
10. Ongoing Evaluation
Keep looking at the new ways and find out what works and what doesn’t (no matter how large or small). This will allow leaders and teams the opportunity to jump on any potential problems before they become larger. Doing a ‘post-mortem’ or a ‘lessons learnt’ process can also assist leaders and the organisation learn from the change management experience and apply the learnings to the next change.
As Heraclitus said “the only constant is change.”
Change is never easy. Particularly when a whole company of individuals with their own opinions and connections are involved, then it can be complicated to implement change. Therefore, it is essential for leaders to develop a meaningful and planned approach to helping their people to adopt new ways of working.