20 Tips for Implementing Organizational Change

20 Tips for Implementing Organizational Change
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Implementing organizational change is challenging, rewarding work … especially if your change programs are successful.

We’ve collected 20 tips to help you increase your chances of success – and get better results – from your change program.

Here you go:

1. First things first – understand and define the problem.

The first step towards successful implementation is planning.

And the first step towards planning is understanding.

Define your problem as clearly as possible, so you’ll know the right way to tackle it.

Seven-basic-change-management-questions-to-consider

infographic source: Torbenrick

2. Decide on the type of changes that will best solve your problem.

Once your problem is defined, you can create an appropriate solution.

Decide the type of organizational changes that will help you achieve transformation – cultural change, technological change, process change, structural change, and so on.

3. Choose a change model to work with.

Change models are designed to help you map out the transformation process and understand employee psychology.

Figure out what benefits you wish to gain from your model. For instance, do you want a step-by-step process to follow, or do you want to gain insight into employees’ mindsets?

4. Customize the change model to fit your needs.

Change models are very useful tools for any change management professional.

However, remember that no change model is perfectly suited to your problem.

The model should serve as a set of guidelines to help you establish procedures, enact change, and understand the process.

To make sure it meshes with your situation, adjust as necessary.

5. Create an overarching plan based on goals and metrics.

Without metrics, you won’t be able to measure successes and failures.

Being able to measure results is important for a few reasons – you want to demonstrate success to stakeholders, spot weaknesses, and gain insight into what works.

6. Identify potential obstacles before you start.

Don’t wait until you start the change program to see what obstacles you’ll face.

Planning ahead gives you the chance to avoid some of them altogether and reduce the impact of others.

7. Develop a strategy to reduce employee resistance.

Employee resistance is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face.

From the get-go, create a strategy to reduce resistance.

Including employees in decision-making, obtaining feedback, and being transparent about the change programs are great ways to lower resistance.

8. Write a “change story.”

A change story is a storyline, concept, or message that articulates the vision behind the change.

It communicates the reasons for the change, which is very necessary for lowering resistance and increasing support.

9. Make a business case for buy-in at the top.

Gaining buy-in from business leaders is crucial for success.

Make a business case that appeals to the target leaders’ needs and wants – demonstrate how they’ll benefit from the proposed change.

10. Make a case for buy-in from the bottom up.

Employees are the ones actually enacting the change.

The last thing you want to do is exclude them.

Personalize the benefits of the change, demonstrating how it will benefit their day-to-day workflow, their careers, and their teams.

11. Create a core change team.

Your core change team is a cross-disciplinary group of change advocates who hold influence.

They will help drive change, advocate for change, and cultivate support.

12. Invite employees to participate in the decision-making process.

Clearly not everyone can fully participate in making change-related decisions.

However, by opening the floor to receive input, you can help employees feel heard. This goes a long way towards gathering their support.

13. Be creative in your efforts to gain support.

Employees view change with a mixture of emotions, and many of them aren’t positive.

Use change management exercises or games to make the process more interesting.

14. Use cutting-edge training tools.

Training and education are critical to the success of any change program.

Use advanced change management tools and training tools – these can greatly improve productivity, engagement, and overall results.

15. Monitor your program carefully.

Always tracks your program with detailed metrics.

Track successes, failures, weaknesses, and risks.

16. Constantly evaluate, improve, and adapt your program.

Using metrics and input from everyone involved, you can find out what needs improving and fix it.

No change program succeeds overnight, so be sure to optimize as you go.

17. Reinforce the change after the program is complete.

One of the biggest reasons change initiatives don’t stick is because the change isn’t reinforced.

It’s easy to slip back into old habits, so put reinforcement systems into place to prevent that.

18. Get feedback from employees.

Before, during, and after the program, ask employees for feedback.

Get their opinions about the changes, the program itself, and suggestions for improvement.

19. Keep monitoring.

After the program is completed, keep measuring.

You can learn how well the program worked, where (or if) it fell short, and what you can do in the future to improve results.

It can also help you know when and where to offer more reinforcement.

20. Perform a final review.

Use all of the data and feedback you’ve collected to perform a post-change review.

Learn what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do to improve things during your next change management program.

Christopher Smith
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.
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