10 Secrets of Great Organizational Change Management (OCM)

Great organizational change management (OCM) gets great results – from improved project outcomes to higher ROI. 

In this article, we’ll look at 10 ways to get better results from your change initiatives.

10 Secrets of Great Organizational Change Management (OCM)

In no particular order…

1. Build a Culture of Interdependence

Teamwork is essential for success in today’s environment.

And it’s just as important in change management.

For change projects to succeed:

  • Groups should be able to work well as a team
  • Teams should be adaptable and responsive
  • Ad hoc teams or groups should be able to work together, even in the short term

The best way to ensure that these needs are met is by building a culture of interdependence.

When everyone in the organization values teamwork, then they will have much better results when executing change projects.

2. Be Project-Oriented

When change is continual, project-style work becomes more and more common.

Project-oriented work is common, for instance, in IT.

That is, tasks have:

  • Beginnings
  • Goals and milestones
  • Specific end points

A project-oriented work style certainly will not apply to every area of business.

However, departments that do apply it will be more flexible, adaptable, and agile.

3. Cultivate the Right Values

Corporate culture impacts organizational change management.

To effectively implement change, that culture should be centered around values such as:

  • Innovation
  • Openness to change
  • Digital literacy
  • Teamwork 
  • Soft skills

Also, be sure to align these values with the workforce and the corporate mission.

Doing so will help your change projects run more smoothly and achieve better outcomes.

4. Recognize that Change Is Continual

As mentioned, continual change is becoming more common.

Treating change initiatives as isolated projects can have unpleasant side effects – projects can be too far removed from organizational strategy, for instance.

It can also decrease efficiency of projects.

Change management departments should:

  • Stay agile and adaptable. Agile change management and similar business approaches are good places to start. 
  • Stay aligned with organizational strategy. Staying in close communication with business leaders can improve response times and keep projects relevant to the business’s strategy.
  • Undergo continual improvement. Continual change should drive continual improvement. Otherwise, your change management approaches could fall behind the demands of the marketplace.

Improving change maturity and enterprise change management is perhaps the best way to adapt to environments driven by continual change.

5. Don’t Just Focus on Outcomes – Improve the Process

Today, there are many factors that increase marketplace competition:

  • The gig economy
  • Outsourced labor
  • Automation
  • Digital technology
  • Marketplace disruption
  • Young, savvy competitors

These variables make it more important than ever to focus on the process … not just the outcomes.

After all, the change management process itself affects the outcomes.

6. Address the Human Factor

Organizational change is driven by individual change.

A human-centered change management approach can improve results.

Failing to account for the human factor, though, can increase the obstacles you’ll face.

Many barriers to change stem from workers, such as:

  • Resistance
  • Anger
  • Denial
  • Fatigue
  • Laziness
  • Frustration

For this reason, it is critical to use good communication strategies and change frameworks.

7. Build Skills and Enable Action

Without the right skills, employees won’t be able to enact change. 

Enable action and improve their skills by providing them with:

  • An understanding of their tasks and responsibilities
  • The right tools, systems, and technology
  • The requisite skills and competencies

To accomplish these goals, stay in tune to employees’ needs, develop employee training programs, and leverage the right training tools.

8. Maintain Accountability

Organizational change is rarely on the top of employees’ to-do list.

It is important to stay firm and keep change projects top-of-mind.

Maintain accountability through, for example:

  • Measurable goals
  • Regular reviews and follow-up
  • Automated goal-tracking and communications

Keeping employees accountable can go a long way towards improving employee performance and project results.

9. Document, Codify, and Reinforce

Communication is central to change management.

And the right documentation is one essential element of that communication strategy.

Such documentation can include:

  • Roadmaps. Project roadmaps are action plans that define goals, timelines, and other elements of a project.
  • Rules and policies. These can outline the guidelines for a project. And they can also clarify and define post-change procedures.
  • Results for teams, individuals, and the project as a whole. Project reports help everyone track progress, including project leaders, change managers, executives, and other stakeholders. 

Taking these steps can also help you maintain accountability, as mentioned above – it helps eliminate the risk of unclear instructions or responsibilities.

10. Evaluate and Learn

It is important to review and evaluate every change project.

After all, that is the only way you can learn from your efforts.

The process is straightforward:

  • Analyze Results – Collect data, feedback, and results from a completed project.
  • Learn – Determine what worked and what needs more work.
  • Improve – Apply these lessons to future projects.

Taking these steps will help you improve your change management skills and your track record.

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.