Creating a checklist of change management action items is an excellent tool to keep you focused.
An action item checklist will help you:
- Stay organized
- Focus on what matters most
- Trim wasteful activities, and actually get things done
Below, we’ll cover a wide range of action items to include in your change management checklist.
Change Management Action Items: The Complete Checklist
All of the action items below have been divided into categories.
1. Research and Analyze
The first task is to understand the problem.
To do that, perform research that includes:
- Risk assessment – What are potential risks or threats?
- Measuring readiness – How ready are your employees? And executives?
- Capability assessment – What does your organization need to move forward with change?
When starting your checklist, be sure to include at least these three items – along with others that make sense for your program.
2. Develop a Strategy
Next, it’s necessary to develop a solution to the problem.
Your strategy action items should include action items to help:
- Mitigating risk
- Maximizing benefits, for individuals and the organization
- Avoiding resistance from employees
- To create an effective change management strategy, make sure you:
- Follow a change management framework
- Develop a solid communication strategy
- Solve the organization’s strategic problem
- Map out your strategy in an action plan
With your strategy in hand, you need to start mobilizing support for your change program.
3. Gain Support
To gain support, Kotter advocates creating a sense of urgency.
Prosci advises creating awareness.
In fact, you should do both of these things – and more:
- Create awareness of the problem, the solution, and the change program
- Make the situation urgent by stressing the positives of the change program … and the negatives of not changing
- Form a change team – what Kotter calls a guiding coalition – to act as the change hub
- Make a powerful case for change with executives, then gain sponsorship as early as possible
- Hold discussions, training sessions, and change meetings well before the change program starts
By gaining support early, you can nip resistance in the bud. And you’ll have much more success when driving your program forward.
Metrics are essential to understanding your program and getting great results.
There are a few essentials to focus on:
- Employee engagement and feedback
- Managerial engagement and feedback
- Performance and productivity
- Adoption rates
- KPIs tied to the program’s overall objectives
These measurements, of course, should be established well before the program begins.
Also, systems should be put in place to collect feedback, both qualitative and quantitative.
Software, for instance, can be used to conduct surveys, gather feedback, or measure engagement with new tools and systems.
Training and onboarding are essential for any change management program.
After all, employees must learn new skills, new processes, and new ways of thinking.
Codify your training program into your change management checklist, with action items such as:
- Training both before and after go-live
- An onboarding checklist, template, or process
- A training program that each employee can follow during transition
The importance of education and onboarding should not be underestimated.
The right training program can make a big impact on performance and program results.
Your execution phase should follow the action items laid out above.
In your project management software – or whichever tool you use to manage your program – include regularly scheduled reviews of:
- Data and metrics, such as engagement and productivity
- Training roadmaps
- Milestones and performance goals
Checking progress is very important … every step of the way.
And when progress does not meet expectations, be ready to adapt or focus on areas that need improvement.
Creating a change program is one thing.
Creating a changeable change program is another.
As they say in the military, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
Change management is not, of course, battle.
However, you should expect the unexpected.
To introduce the capacity for adaptation:
- Constantly measure feedback, and be ready to incorporate that into future stages of your change program
- Be open to change, and create a system for accepting input from others in your organization
- Regularly meet with stakeholders to stay on top of the current state of the organization
Staying adaptable and flexible will help your change program stay more relevant and useful.
And it will help you keep pace with today’s fast-paced marketplace, which changes by the minute.
The final stage of any change program is reinforcement.
To embed change, follow a few key steps after go-live:
- Continue communicating with everyone about the change program
- Keep receiving, reviewing, and acting upon feedback
- Offer ongoing training as necessary
- Review analytics, metrics, and KPIs even after program completion
If you see signs of stagnation or signs that people are reverting to the old ways, follow up.
Failure to reinforce change can cause you to lose ground – and in some cases, organizations can even completely revert to their old procedures
These guidelines should help you create a master change management checklist.
By adding all of the points mentioned here, your change management action items can serve as a go-to roadmap.
As you progress through your change program, that checklist will be an invaluable tool.
If you follow it regularly, then you:
- Won’t leave anything out
- Can stay organized
- Be clear about your priorities
- Will have an easy, step-by-step template to follow
Ideally, this simple tool will streamline your workflow, cut your workload, and help you get better results from your program.
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.