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How to plan for successful change management initiatives

Sehela Simin

Sehela Simin

Digital Marketing Manager
sm-Change-management-TripLog6

Organizational changes are becoming more routine, especially in today’s world, where consumer preference and trends change faster than ever before.  However, according to a survey by Mckinsey & Company, only 70% of change management initiatives within an organization fail. Today’s post is dedicated to planning a change within your organization that beats the statistic. We also explore why it’s essential to internalize change and turn it into a continuous process and a mindset, reducing the reaction time for market movements and new opportunities.

Need for change

The change management must begin with careful and objective assessment. The reason for the change must not be to relieve the symptoms of the root cause but the cause itself. To ensure that, there must be a thorough analysis of past and current performance and determining if things should stay the same or change.

If you decide that a particular outcome need to change, be it profitability or employee turnover, for example, you need to objectively look at what causes the outcome and how that maybe be changed to get to your desired state.

The crucial bit at this stage is to look at it objectively. This can be accomplished, for example, by getting direct feedback from at least two layers of your organization (if applicable). Be prepared for unseen changes according to feedback and have a proactive mindset to acknowledge the need for change.

Planning

Once the need for change is identified objectively, the next phase is obviously planning. Now in our mind, there are two types of planning, one for efficiency and one for implementation success. According to this survey, only about 30% of all change management initiatives are successful. There are many reasons that we will get into, but a lot of it has to do with planning.

Planning for efficiency

Planning for efficiency comes very naturally to business owners which include the following:

  • Budgeting & Allocating Resources: The process of planning should begin with budgeting and approving resources needed for the change management initiative.
  • Leadership Commitment: Identifying the strategic leaders committed to the initiative and creating a “Change” team of the most enthusiastic supporters of change.
  • Objectives & timeline: Set clear objectives of the change and the timeframe for the project
  • Success metrics and communication: Quantify the success criterions and set clear KPI indicators to monitor progress. Share progress updates with every employee.

Any savvy business leader/manager is well versed on the need for planning for efficiency. By studying the 30% of companies that succeed, Mckinsey & Company have identified a few practices that contribute to change success. To us they are gold and we labeled them as planning but not for efficiency rather implementation success must-haves.

Planning for implementation success

  • Help employees understand why the change is happening (why it’s important)

In one survey of more than half a million US employees, almost one-third don’t understand why change happens within a company. This is detrimental for the successful implementation of any change management initiative. Most leaders assume that their employees understand and support any change initiative taken on by them. It is crucial that the ones who will actually drive the implementation are knowledgeable and invested in the initiative.

  • Communicate purpose and vision through storytelling

In order to explain the reasoning behind any change initiative and to drive commitment, Leaders need to inspire their employees with a vision and a clear path to success. This can only be achieved by articulating the “big picture” by coming up with a narrative for why this change is important and how it will benefit the company, it’s employees and their customers. Change events can be unstable, stressful and risky and storytelling is an extremely effective tool to drive commitment in those situations.

  • Empower leaders and managers to lead through change

Any major change initiatives involve a significant change in certain behavior and skill sets of employees. To drive engagement and commitment among employees, it is crucial that leaders show the commitment by modeling in the behavior changes and skills training for the entire team. One way to do is to conduct training of managers driving change initiatives in their individual teams

  • Give employees ownership

We talked about driving engagement and commitment by employees in the change initiative. The best way to go about it is to give ownership to them. Ask your employees for feedback and incorporate them in the change activities, making them own the change themselves.

  • Leverage digital

The steps mentioned above can be made so much more personal and effective digital tools are leveraged. Digital tools can be used when implementing a new system by providing timely and personalized information to individual team members. Personalizing the task increases commitment and drive and the individual is likely to own the implementation armed with such personal insights. Shared dashboards, visualizations and “gamification” tools and online forums can create a sense of community around the change implementation, thereby increasing engagement and commitment.

Think of various ways you can leverage digital tools to make this journey more personal and relevant for your team members to maximize ownership and commitment.

Conclusion

We repeat only ~30% of change management initiatives are successful. The 70% who are not succeeding yet at implementation does so for incomplete planning and by focusing more on project management and not people management. It’s important to remember that the success of any change event depends more on the people. Focusing more on them rather than the project is crucial. So hopefully, for your next change initiative, you will think about how you can inspire, inform, empower and engage your most effective driver in the change management initiative – the people in your organization.

 

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