Following a few change management rules can keep your project on track, on target, and on focus.
If you forget to follow the principles of change management, then you risk undercutting your own success.
Below, we have collected 10 of the most essential change management rules to follow.
These are fundamental rules that can help you improve your program’s results – whether you are working in a small business or a large enterprise.
1. Create a Solid Communication Strategy
Effective communication is perhaps the biggest success factor when it comes to the people side of change.
An effective communications strategy will help you:
- Earn support from both high and low
- Understand the needs of all stakeholders
- Know what needs fixing and why
- Mitigate or prevent resistance
Among many other things.
2. If You Fail, Fail Early and Small
In today’s business climate, a mantra has emerged: “Fail fast, fail early, and fail often.”
The idea is that if you uncover mistakes early, they will cost less.
It also suggests that we should not be afraid to fail.
However, every business person knows that failure can be costly – which is why you should experiment early and often.
And if you fail, fail early and fail small.
Today, the world is digital.
Rather than running from the digital era, organizations must embrace it.
This means embracing:
- Digital transformation
- Digital adoption
- Digital cultures
- Digital workplaces
Among other things digital.
Do so and your organization will become more competitive and more successful.
4. Make Friends in High Places
Executive support is a must for change programs to succeed.
Research by Google, for example, has found that lack of executive support was one of the biggest contributors to failed initiatives.
Obtaining support and buy-in from executives should be a top priority.
That support can ensure that leadership listens to you when necessary – and that you have the resources you need to move forward.
5. Drive Success with Data
Change management is a people-oriented business discipline.
However, today’s change programs must become data-driven in order to succeed.
Data can do a number of things, such as:
- Offering insight into your program via metrics and KPIs
- Justifying change initiatives by demonstrating ROI potential
- Showing what can be improved in future change programs
There are many, many uses for data – and equally as many ways to use data.
Explore your options carefully in order to get the best results.
6. Train Effectively
Many change programs require new skills, tools, software, or processes.
To train effectively:
- Use modern, digital approaches to education, such as personalized learning tools
- Implement digital learning solutions, such as digital adoption platforms
- Keep evolving your training program and adjust as needed
Onboarding and training delivers ROI – by cutting costs, reducing learning times, and increasing productivity.
Therefore, it should be a priority for any change initiative.
7. Put People at the Center
Change management is a people-centric discipline.
Without people, change could not take place.
This is why change managers use change models such as Kotter’s 8-Step Model and the ADKAR framework.
It is also why communication is so important, as mentioned above.
Putting people first will help you create programs that are:
- Embraced, instead of enacted
- Relevant and valuable
Among other things.
The best way to get started is to study up on change management literature, particularly change models and frameworks.
8. Be Agile and Lean
Agile and lean business models are flexible, adaptable, and responsive.
They are open to change. And, rather than treating change as unusual or unwelcome, they treat change as normal.
Ironically, not all change programs are change-friendly.
To make your program relevant, create change programs that aare flexible, open, and changeable.
9. Create a Sophisticated Change Program
Every organization has a different capacity for change.
Some change functions are more mature than others.
The best, most effective programs are those that are well-structured, sophisticated, and mature.
To create a sophisticated program:
- Follow the rules outlined here
- Develop a formal, structured program – not an informal one with no structure
- Do your due diligence and research – then put that to work when developing a strategy
- Research change management in detail
The more sophisticated your program, the greater its chances of success … and the greater its ROI.
10. Continuously Change
Finally, never stop changing.
Change is constant, and it’s just as important for change programs as it is for organizations.
Kaizen is a principle of business which means continuous improvement.
This principle, originally applied to manufacturing, has spread into many other business areas.
Change professionals should also incorporate the idea of continuous improvement into their own thinking.
Do so, and the long-term results will definitely show it.
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