Change – A dirty word
There you are in the middle of the change in the workplace and someone says you didn’t tell me about this or an element of it! Suddenly everything grinds to a halt. Alternatively, you have so many Senior Managers wanting to direct the change, as the person leading it, you don’t know whether you are coming and going
You end up feeling like you want to scream from the top of a mountain. So who are you really answering to – it always reminds me of the bunnies that keep popping out of the magician’s hat! Ah, not another one!
Some tips I’ve picked up along the way and are currently helping me with the changes I’m involved in are
- Keep people in the communications loop – Share regular communication bursts with the latest update on what is happening. Remember people want to know how it is going to affect them and how they will benefit. Something I have learnt when going through change is to keep reiterating to the employee the advantages. Tell the employees what the stages of the change are, to prepare them and manage expectations. The same goes for your customer – if it is going to affect them, if possible, include some representatives as stakeholders and keep them posted about what the changes are and make sure they are going to benefit from any change involving them
2. Identify who your stakeholders are and include them. Particularly important is understanding the level of engagement needed with these stakeholders and what their needs are. Mapping out the importance of customers and stakeholders to the business is essential.
3. Understand the resistance to change and look at your approach. If people are putting barriers up and are resistant, then step back and analyse why.
• Is the reasoning for the change clear?
• Have you demonstrated the evidence for the change?
• Have you involved the key players in the change?
• Are you moving too quick with the change?
• Do you understand where people are in the change cycle?
Work with the people and if need be, consider who is on the change management team and add the power people who can make the change happen. Sometimes it is simply just a matter of putting one or two people on the team who are open minded and very positive. They then tend to create the right atmosphere.
4. Plan the change properly and understand what type of change it is
• Is it a change to do a quick fix?
• Is it a far-reaching or revolution change?
• Or is it a stepping stone type change?
• Or is it slight adjustments?
Dependant on the type will identify exactly who needs to be included and the amount of interaction needed.
The bigger the change the more you need to plan meticulously and understand the change strategy you need to implement.
Often the best changes I have seen are when carried out as a problem-solving, so involving those that know the work and those who have the strategic view. A recent one I was involved in painted what the future vision was and then established what the current position was. Using this, we then looked at what the blockers were and how we could remove these. Once we had this, then we could draft the change plan.
5. Understand what the Risks and Issues are to any change and document it. Then work out what the mitigations will be so you are heading the problems off at the start. Makes life much easier and gives you time to really think it out. If you don’t and then the issue suddenly springs on you, everyone tends to rush around like headless chickens!
Hope these tips help you. Do share your ideas and feedback in the comments.