Everybody struggles with change. On a personal level and in business.
So if the current change management process at your organization feels incredibly difficult, don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s all of us.
Change is hard. It can be overwhelming.
Whether it’s a digital transformation, the implementation of a new process or the adoption of a new technology platform—leaders often have an uphill battle on their hands. They must align people with the reason for the change, attempt to change habits and beliefs, and ultimately create effective long-lasting change within the organization.
This guide will help you understand the change management process and share key strategies to help you get started. We will also share a change management methodology that may prove to be very effective for your own change initiative. Let’s dive in.
What is Change Management?
Change management is a structured approach to any kind of organizational change. According to Prosci,”Change management is the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desired outcome.”
Significant organizational change can be challenging. Change management is a method that helps leaders navigate and implement this change. This includes establishing the steps required for the change and supporting staff and other stakeholders. It also involves monitoring pre, during, and post-change activities to effectively track the effects of making the change.
7 Key Strategies for Effective Business Change Management
While businesses are frequently undergoing big changes these days, according to Gartner, about half of change initiatives fail, whereas only 34% report clear success. 16% of change initiatives report mixed results.
Don’t become another failed change stat. Here are seven ways you can effectively manage and implement any kind of organizational change:
1. Put people first
Whether it’s a digital transformation or the implementation of a new platform—all organizational change involves people. Therefore it’s only obvious that you must put your people first.
Change can mean changes to jobs, a requirement for new skills, or simply new expectations. Your staff may be scared or resistant to these changes. Your leadership team must anticipate these hesitations and prepare for them by developing a strategic plan for them.
Change initiatives fail when the people involved don’t understand, believe in, or engage in the change. It’s important for leaders to systematically address people issues, preferably before they even arise, as a result of this change.
2. Start at the top
Change is unsettling. Don’t expect it to be otherwise. During this period of change, it’s only obvious that your teams will look to the CEO and other leaders to guide them through this period of change.
Communicate the need for change and its benefits to your executive team first of all. They must understand why and become public advocates for this change across your organization. Executive teams that work well together are best positioned for success.
If your leadership team presents a united front, the rest of the organization is more likely to follow their example.
3. Adopt a change management model
To create change effectively, the best thing you can do is make use of a change management model. These models are designed to facilitate change and help leaders navigate the process and implement big changes more effectively.
According to a Prosci survey, on best practices for change management, those who applied a structured approach were 33% more likely to experience good or excellent change management effectiveness than those without a methodology.
Popular change management methodologies include Prosci’s ADKAR model (we discuss this in further detail below), Lewin’s or Kotter’s Change Management Model. Leverage technology to put your change management methodology to work in the most effective way possible.
4. Get everyone involved
Any kind of organizational change likely affects different levels of the business in different ways. Therefore it’s important to get all stakeholders involved in the change process for best results.
Identify “leaders” throughout different areas of the company and educate them about the change. Educate them about the why but also the more practical how. These leaders can then pass on the messages to their subordinates, resulting in cascading effect of change being adopted across the board.
Make sure your leaders are on the same page with the vision for change, the company’s mission and are willing to jump on board to make sure change is implemented effectively.
Improve collaboration during change management with the help of an effective project management tool like Mission Control. The software is designed to help teams communicate and collaborate better, making it easier for you to ensure a unified change vision is being shared and communicated across your organization.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Don’t assume everyone in the organization knows and understands why the change is necessary and how it will be implemented. Communicate it clearly.
The best change programs clearly communicate and reinforce the change message to everyone affected by the change. Core messaging should be inspirational but also share practical advice on how to embrace the changes.
These messages should be sent out at regular intervals, through multiple channels, to make sure all stakeholders receive the right information at the right time. Remember, over-communication is better than communicating too little.e
6. Make it exciting
To truly engage the organization and get everyone on board for the change problem, make the change exciting and compelling. Make sure your communications share the benefits these changes will have on the organization.
While company-level benefits are great, share individual-level advantages as well. Give your staff a clear understanding of how the change will positively impact their jobs. Understanding this impact is likely to make the change more personal and much more exciting for them.
7. Be okay with resistance
Don’t expect the transition to go smoothly. Change is always accompanied by resistance and that’s okay, especially if spotted in the early stages. From procrastination to inaction—make note of the resistance to change.
Keep an eye on why the staff is resisting change. Is the new tech platform difficult to use due to a lack of proper training? Are new processes too confusing? Invite feedback in order to better understand resistance and address it. Set up feedback loops, run surveys, and invite input from employees to proactively identify signs of resistance, then take fast action.
Applying the ADKAR Methodology to your Change Initiative
No single methodology fits every company however, the ADKAR methodology is a great choice for change management for almost every organization.
ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement.
- Awareness of the need for change.
- Desire to participate and support the change.
- Knowledge on how to change.
- Ability to implement desired skills and behaviors.
- Reinforcement to sustain the change.
According to Prosci, “By outlining the goals and outcomes of successful change, the ADKAR Model enables leaders and change management teams to focus their activities on what will drive individual change and therefore achieve organizational results.”
The model is focused on individual adoption of change. It guides individuals through a particular change and addresses any roadblocks or barrier points along the way.
The ADKAR model ultimately helps ensure organizational change is less likely to fail. It helps leaders communicate about the change more effectively, ensuring a more successful transition for individuals and implementation of change across the organization.
Manage Change with the Right Tools
Change can be overwhelming for an organization. It’s also necessary for an organization to grow and thrive. Therefore, leaders must learn to effectively manage organizational change and get all stakeholders on board.
You can make the change management process simpler and more streamlined with the help of the right tools. A tool like Mission Control can help you apply the right methodology and manage the entire change process in one centralized hub.
From strategy to program design, communication to change implementation—Mission Control can help you take control of the entire organizational change process in one location.
See how Mission Control can help you manage change at your organization. Request a demo today.