First, we’ll start with 10 change management do’s…
1. Be Innovative
Innovation is a key driver of change.
Not all change, of course.
But even when change is “forced” on you, being innovative can help your program get better results.
Innovative change initiatives can make you look better, get better results for employees, and help the business become more competitive.
A win-win-win for everyone.
2. Put Employees First
Hopefully, change managers and organizational development specialists never forget this golden rule.
Employees drive change, so they should be considered first and foremost.
Without their help and support, change won’t succeed.
Always put them first.
3. Focus on Customer Value
Customers are the “bosses” of any company.
Focus on the value they get from any change initiative, and you can’t go wrong.
Do so and you’ll be adding real value to your own company.
And when that is your goal, it becomes much easier to get buy-in at the top, achieve better results from your change initiative, and much more.
Total participation feeds success.
Excluding anyone, at the top or the bottom, can cause mistakes, problems, or worse.
Always be clear, inclusive, and up-front with your communications.
5. Get Buy-In at the Top, Early
Early buy-in from executives is crucial.
Support from the top can help you ward off objections, budgetary constraints, and much more.
Without it, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle in every executive meeting.
6. Embrace Digital
Digital technology, digital culture, and digital workplaces are the future.
Don’t fight digital – adopt digital and dominate with it.
Embrace it, and your change programs will prosper, now and in the future.
7. Use Modern Tools
Part of embracing digital means using the most modern tools.
Research the latest and greatest change management tools, such as:
- Digital adoption platforms
- Project management tools
- AI, analytics, and robotic process automation
Innovate towards the future, and you will be helping your organization – and your coworkers – succeed.
8. Change Models Are a Must
Change management frameworks, like the Lewin change model or Kotter’s 8-step change model, are required learning.
You can choose not to use one, of course. Or to use a combination of frameworks.
However, every change manager worth his or her salt will know what they are, how they work, and how to apply them.
9. Learn from Employee Feedback
Be agile, and learn from employees as you go.
Incorporate feedback into your program quickly, and you can evolve on the fly.
This will help you get better results from your program, reduce employee resistance, and gain more support.
10. Learn from Your Mistakes and Your Results
After your change initiative is finished, study it.
Review mistakes, and learn from what you did right.
This will help you do better the next time around.
Now, 10 Change Management Don’ts
1. Be a Dictator
True leaders aren’t dicators.
They do what needs to be done, but don’t issue orders as if it’s the military.
Remember that employees can rebel, be obstinate, and obstruct progress.
For best results, be a good leader, not a commandeering dictator.
2. Treat Change as a Superficial Process
Change management is not a series of superficial meetings and training sessions.
It is a meaningful process that must be taken seriously, by everyone involved.
Understand the vision for change, communicate it clearly, and instill it in employees.
3. Treat Change as an Obligation
Try as much as possible to make change fun, exciting, and interesting.
Emphasize the benefits of the change initiative … both for the organization and for the individual.
Remember that each person will benefit from the change process, so find and highlight silver linings.
4. Be Aloof
Avoiding interaction will damage the change process.
Interact directly with employees … away from the keyboard or the podium.
Hold meetings, have one-on-one discussions, and get real feedback.
5. Exclude or Sideline
Your change initiative’s results will reflect employee participation.
Excluding or sidelining employees – or anyone, for that matter – will only foster resistance, feelings of isolation, and feelings of being “besieged.”
6. Avoid Technology
Whether you like technology or not, technology is here to stay.
And, in many cases, digital technology drives change.
Avoid avoiding technology, and you will create change programs that are actually innovative and competitive.
7. Avoid Conflicts
Conflict that’s avoided will only fester.
Don’t avoid conflict. Instead, acknowledge opposition and resolve conflict peacefully.
8. Be Silent About Your Ideas
In many cases, middle managers and ground-level employees hold the keys to effective change.
However, too often they remain silent about their ideas.
You — and your coworkers — should be encouraged to speak up.
Foster a culture that embraces change, innovation, and openness. This will go a long way towards cultivating innovative, competitive change solutions.
9. Be Reckless
At the other end of the spectrum from conservatism is recklessness.
Don’t take risks based on flimsy data, fads, or pop trends.
The better bet is to take calculated risks and make incremental changes based on feedback and hard data.
Your change program will get better results and you’ll have an easier time selling it to stakeholders.
10. Be Too Conservative
Being conservative is what killed Borders, Blockbuster, and many other brick-and-mortar businesses.
The “old ways” of doing things cannot survive in a digital economy, so dare to innovate.
Evolve, and you will help your organization prosper and your coworkers prosper.
And, of course, you will further your own career in the process.