As we approach the end of 2018, many of you are probably planning business transformations for the New Year. However, the loftier the goals, the more care needs to be given to the process in achieving them. Here are five tips for reaching your change management initiative goals in 2019:
- Expect the unexpected. Remember that a major organizational change is not an overnight process. There will be hiccups along the way, software glitches, and perhaps even resistance from your user base. It is important to build time into your change management checklist for training, testing, and communications. If you were changing the paint color of your home, you would want the painters to take their time and make sure that every nook and cranny is covered with a fresh coat of paint. The same principle applies to change within an organization; take your time, be patient, and be flexible. Sustainable change is more important than fast change.
- Have a clear vision of your change’s intended result. It is important for leadership to be in alignment on the end goal of your change initiative. Chefs and management at a restaurant don’t just buy a bunch of groceries and start making whatever they can with the ingredients they had purchased; they know exactly how much of which products to buy to complete the items on the menu. They also have an intended dining experience. They tell their staff what the evening specials are and which items pair well together. They have lighting and sound levels that are appropriate for the experience they are trying to convey. Likewise, your organization may have purchased some fancy new tools, but without a clearly defined vision of what you’re serving at the banquet, it’s likely that many will go hungry or be dissatisfied.
- Prioritize communications. When change occurs, it is important for everyone within the organization to be aware of what changes are taking place and how staff may be affected. It is also important to update the workforce on the status and timeline of the change initiative as well as any delays that may occur. Effective and frequent communications can also mitigate resistance and help build trust.
- Remember that change does not end at go-live. You may have implemented your solution, but until your organization is fully adjusted to your new processes and tools, your change will not be sustainable. Implement communities of practice, super-user networks, performance support tools, and end-user training solutions that can ensure successful, sustainable change.
- Celebrate and recognize successes. Both team and individual successes can and should be recognized to help build momentum and raise morale. Change isn’t easy, so when milestones and victories are achieved, a pat on the back is just good policy.
As always, GP Strategies is here to assist you in all your change endeavors. Please feel free to contact us about your change initiative and we will connect you with a business transformation specialist.