Your business must evolve to be successful, where continuous growth is essential for survival.
Without following a change management model, you’ll be taking an ill-informed approach to change, leaving it up to chance and hoping for the best. Though you might get lucky, how many high-performing companies have been built on luck?
To help you on route to successfully implementing new strategies, here are two top change management models to sink your teeth into:
Lewin’s Change Management Model
This is a popular approach which splits the process of change into digestible chunks. This makes things much easier to understand from a practical standpoint. Lewin believes there are three stages of change management:
- Make Changes
To provide further clarity, let’s break down each individual section:
‘Unfreezing’ involves looking at how things are currently done, before identifying areas of possible improvement. Analyzing every aspect of your business operations will require a significant investment of time and resources, but you must go in-depth to implement long lasting changes.
The unfreezing stage involves influencing your company’s perception of change, which is usually one of resistance. Sudden change can breed resentment, so it’s crucial you prepare your team for new horizons. This will increase the likelihood change will be embraced on an organizational level, where an overall understanding of the need to change will help new processes stick.
With everyone ready to accept change, you can deploy new processes and help staff adapt. This will truly test your ability to communicate, support, and educate invested parties. You’ll limit progression without these, causing difficulties with the transition phase.
Any challenge that arise should be addressed immediately, alongside providing extra training if necessary. Coordinate regular staff meetings, where employees can discuss current issues and provide valuable feedback. Everyone should have a change manager they can report to in times of need, who will act as a liaison with executives. What’s most important with this step is that staff highlight problem areas which need to be addressed.
Refreeze the New Status Quo
Once changes have been deployed, you must ‘refreeze’ the status quo. This is a crucial stage of any change management model, where if old habits resurface the process will be rendered obsolete.
Intiatite regular reviews to check your new methods are being followed, incentivizing employees to adhere to new initiatives. This stage is much easier if you’ve incorporated staff feedback, because your team will be more invested, and thus more willing to embrace change. If they were directly involved in the process, they will want positive changes to have longevity.
This unique approach looks more at the people responsible for change, rather than the change itself. This makes sense from a behavioral standpoint, where ultimately it’s people’s attitudes to change that influence its implementation.
Inspire change in your organization, creating momentum that will carry forward. Kotter’s theory can be broken into the following elements:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Build your core
- Form a strategic vision
- Get everyone on the same page
- Remove barriers to mitigate friction
- Generate short-term wins
- Sustain acceleration
- Set concrete changes
To enhance your understanding of each stage, let’s delve a bit deeper:
Create a Sense of Urgency
This generates the initial traction necessary to get everyone on board. Motivating your staff to adapt is relatively straightforward, and can be achieved by encouraging positive discussions about change. When word spreads throughout the organization, staff will appreciate the importance of change.
Build Your Core
Gather organizational leaders and promote the necessity of change. Communicate your vision to a good span of people with different skillsets. Asking for a commitment is advantageous, because a strong core of promoters will have influence over the entire team.
Form a Strategic Vision
This step involves defining the vision for your changes. Simply express the ultimate goal, preferencing values your changes will achieve. What are the predicted outcomes? Keep the summary simple, to ensure your core group understands your clear objectives.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Target staff who are reluctant to accept change. Regular meetings to discuss new initiatives are advisable, but you’ll need to promote your aspirations outside of meetings too. Be open, incorporate feedback, and host discussions where valuable input will shape your strategy. The goal here it to convince staff changes are necessary, setting the stage for them to implement them at a later date.
Remove Barriers and Mitigate Friction
Take a moment to address stumbling blocks, and how these will affect implementation. Anything that slows progress should be evaluated, alongside analyzing current processes to determine whether they’re holding you back. Tackle problems as soon as possible.
Generate Short-Term Wins
Hitting realistic short-term targets will keep everyone on board, offering a sense of accomplishment that keeps staff motivated to reach long-term goals. Plan out milestones in advance, remaining flexible to measure change as it happens. You can keep staff informed on how their performance is being affected as you go along.
Maintain the momentum you’ve generated. If sustained, changes will become habitual, rather than being a passing phase. Look at what you can improve, and set new goals whenever you can so your team have something to work towards.
Set Concrete Changes
Your changes should be embedded in company culture. Promote the success of changes, and their importance for future success. Recognize parties who have been responsible for change, and promote a positive attitude where change is considered a good thing. This process can be repeated for any individual change procedure.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.