5 steps to successfully leading change in your Organisation.
There’s no getting around change, it happens every day and in every type of business or organization. Did you know that 70% of change initiatives fail? These failures are mainly due to unsuccessful change leadership. The people in control of designing and/or implementing a change did not take into account key factors that ultimately destabilize their chance for success.
Leading a change initiative can be perplexing because you’re asking people to do something that they didn’t initiate. The skill to help people embrace change is critical to your success as a leader. Whether you’re about to lead your business through a major change process, or you’re a leader implementing a change that’s already been designed, you’ll need to understand the five key factors in being successful in your change plan. Knowing how to lead change is not only important, but imperative. So here is a look at the five keys to success.
1.Identify the Change
- Identify the problem or reason for the change. Analyse data or key factors that are driving the need to change. Growth, increased competition, technology etc are all reasons for change. Have a look at the Greiner Curve it explains and demonstrates how a business moves through stages of growth and how each stage is a stimulus for change.
- Measure resistance. Who are the people in your organization that are going to resist the most? People are either a conserver (hates change), pragmatists (doesn’t mind change) or originator (enjoys change) it’s important to know who fits these profiles.
- Identify key personal to assist in identifying and examining the problem and related need for change. Look for people who the change will affect the most and get their feedback. Also be on the lookout for resisters and get their input early to avoid sabotage later.
- Consider undertaking a SWOT analysis to help in identifying the required change. A SWOT analysis will help to document the process.
- Announce to the organisation that change is needed, share who was involved in the decision to change and what they looked at to reach the decision.
2.Build the Team
- Decide who is going to be in the lead team, in other words who is going to be responsible for the change process including its design and implementation. You will need to include at least one member who was involved in the identification process in stage one, at least one person who will be most impacted by the change and one person who is seen as a champion of the change.
- Ideally you want to select people for your lead team who have empathy for and patience with the inevitable resistance that will arise.
- Your lead group will need to know how to assess data, make decisions, communicate and ultimately guide the implementation of the change.
- Build an input team. The input team can consist of people who will support the lead team in making the best choices possible. Your input team consists of a range of people who play short-term roles at various stages in the process, and can help take on some of the legwork in your change plan.
- Announce that your teams has been created. Share with everybody in your business who’s on the lead team and how/when others will be involved.
*Resist the temptation to not include the conservers (hate’s change) in either the lead or input team, although you may not enjoy working with them it’s better to get their input now rather than allowing them to undermine you in the future. You have a greater opportunity to convert a conserver to your change if you involve them early in the process.
3.Design the Change Process
- It’s time for the lead team to start brainstorming potential solutions, pay attention to the conservers you want to make sure to see them as valuable assets, be sure to involve resisters early and often. Get the lead team to start exploring solutions to the problems requiring change and determine the best time to involve your input team.
- After you have generated as many solutions as possible, you can start evaluating them and narrowing them down to the ones that have the most potential.
- Now that you have some potential solutions, it’s time to go looking for resistance. Remember to be transparent and share your evaluation process, who’s been involved and announce the options the team has landed on and why.
- Ensure that all surfacing concerns about the proposed change are managed in an empathetic and patient manner. Change is uncomfortable for many people and people want to know why change is necessary before they embrace it.For more info about this stage refer to the SCARF model by Dr David Rock.
- Announce the possible solutions. Share the options and seek input from key stakeholders. Also now is the time to address people’s concerns and to work through these concerns with them.
- Decide on what resources will be needed to carry out the change and plan accordingly.
- Undertake a pilot test of your change, evaluate the effectiveness of your solution. Now is the perfect time to make any necessary changes or to look for unforeseen challenges you had not anticipated.
- Develop your transitional strategy, map out the roll put process so that everybody knows the timing and pace of your change. It’s important to remember that you will get more resistance the larger the scope or the faster the pace of your change. Try and avoid making a change and then rolling out another change directly behind it. People will cope better with change if you roll out multiple changes all together or spread them out over time.
- Ensure that training is undertaken to help people develop new skills for the change.
4.Announce the Change
- Announce the change by creating a compelling vision for the change, try to create a sense of positivity so people see that the change will bring good things. Spell out to people why the status quo is not working and how the change will ultimately improve and make things better.
- In many cases, the announcement is the first time the wider group hears what’s going on. This is why it’s vital that your announcement include the history of what’s happened up until this point and who has worked on the project.
- Announce a time line of when and how the changes will be rolled out.
- Announce verbally and also in writing. Depending on the type of change a written SOP may also be of use at this stage.
- Even if you do everything perfectly, there will be grumbling. It’s human nature and it’s unavoidable. So brace yourself. You want to be ready with your patience and your empathy. You don’t have to solve all the problems, just listen. You can do a lot to reduce resistance simply by listening, and making others feel heard. If you’re defensive or you sell a compelling vision too hard, you’ll miss a great opportunity to build more rapport. So use this time as a time to collect their concerns and questions, take notes on their suggestions, and listen to their complaints.
5.Implement and Maintain the Change
- Roll out your change in its full capacity, and then start to look for opportunities to celebrate your achievements and successes.
- Continue to seek input from all stakeholders including the wider group and in particular those people who will be effected most by the change.
- Consider the power of habit. People will need time to adjust to the new way of doing things. Now is the time to be patient and continually encourage the reason for the change and how it will ultimately help them.
- You will need to allow for at least forty repetitions of the new behavior before it becomes the norm and old habits are broken.
- Consider that everybody involved is at a different stage of the change curve. Whilst you as a lead team member could very well be months ahead of others in your organization it’s important to understand what stage of the curve different groups or people may be at. Research “change resistance curve “for more info about the change resistance curve.
- Continue to roll out the necessary training to everybody effected by the change.
- Evaluate and adjust as required, remember change never stops.
- Measure your progress and celebrate the success!
- Repeat ……………………………..
This is by no means a complete guide in change management but an overview on some of the key elements required.
Thanks for reading,