There are many change management rules – but only a few change management golden rules.
These golden rules are core principles of change management … principles that every change professional should understand if they want to successfully lead change.
Below, we’ll look at:
- The 7 change management golden rules
- Why they are important
- And how to apply them
Whether you are a change veteran or a beginner, understanding these rules can help you create change that is lasting, effective, and supported.
Change Management Golden Rules
Here are 7 of the most important rules to follow when implementing organizational change:
1. People Drive Change
Today’s most successful enterprises understand the value of customer-centrism and user-centrism.
In other words, they know that people lie at the heart of any business.
They also lie at the heart of any change program.
Their support is essential for driving successful change, which is why you should always:
- Keep them at the forefront of your mind when designing change initiatives
- Communicate openly and honestly throughout (see below)
- Let people – customers, users, and employees – fuel your change efforts
Understanding this core principle is the most important aspect of change management.
Follow it religiously and your change programs will benefit.
2. Communication Is a Two-Way Street
Communication is perhaps the most valued skill in change management.
This rule follows directly on the heels of the first rule.
After all, ineffective communication can:
- Erode trust and goodwill
- Destroy confidence in leadership, a company, or a change program
- Create resistance
- Alienate employees
To name a few examples.
The best communication involves listening then speaking.
Remember this, and your change efforts will produce great results.
3. Today’s World Is Digital, So Strategize Accordingly
Yes, change management is people-centered.
But today’s world is digital.
Many of today’s change efforts are digitally driven.
These include initiatives such as:
And other technology-driven initiatives.
Change managers can become more digital-savvy by:
- Following the technology developments in their marketplace
- Implementing change programs that keep their organization modern, such as digital adoption and transformation efforts
- Applying digital technology in their own workflows to optimize change efforts and improve results
The savvy change manager understands that digital plays a pivotal role in today’s economy … and they strategize accordingly.
4. Data Fuels Success
Along the same lines, data is the fuel that fires successful business efforts.
Change initiatives are no exception.
Here are ways to use data to gain change management insights:
- Analyzing the initial business problem
- Performing user testing
- Analyzing user feedback
- Measuring change projects, during and after
An analytical perspective on your change program can offer more objectivity and more insights.
These, in turn, can help you get better results from your change program.
5. Mature, Sophisticated Change Wins
How mature is your change management capacity?
Every organization has a different level of enterprise change maturity.
Some have no formal structure for change programs.
Others integrate change management into their organizational strategy, with dedicated personnel, resources, and executive leadership.
Naturally, mature change management functions get better results.
- Analyze business problems proactively, strategically, and holistically
- Have established procedures and processes, which streamlines change projects and gets better results
- Employ dedicated professionals whose job it is to ensure success
These are just a few reasons why sophisticated, mature change departments perform so well.
Make it a point to evolve your organization’s change management maturity, and your change efforts will improve dramatically.
6. Change Needs Leaders
Management is necessary, but so is leadership.
Leaders are professionals who:
- Create visions for change
- Act as the driving force behind a change program
- Embody the change
- Get on the ground, mobilize, and motivate employees
Reasons such as these should convince you that leadership is essential for a change project.
Such leadership can come in the form of:
- Executive sponsorship
- Change champions appointed within affected departments
- Advocates at any level
Enlisting their support will speed up your change program, reduce resistance, and fuel support.
Go without such leadership and you can expect obstacles to loom large.
Therefore, find leaders as soon as possible and make sure they will actively support your change program.
7. Be Open to Change
Finally, change managers should be open to change.
This rule can be applied in a few ways:
- Be open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new change theories, and new processes
- Be innovative and adaptable, actively seeking ways to improve the business and solve problems
- Keep your change projects fluid, flexible, and adaptable, so you can react quickly if circumstances change
These traits are very beneficial in today’s fast-paced business world.
Markets change quickly, consumers change quickly, and technology evolves rapidly.
Since circumstances can change overnight, you need to be open and willing to change with them.
Be open to change, and you will be able to stay on top of such changes.
These 7 change management golden rules are essential for modern businesses.
There are certainly other change management rules and principles – many more can be found on this blog.
However, just applying these principles can help you deliver change programs faster, more effectively, and cheaper.