Change is necessary in any individual or organization. Those who stay at the same place doing the same thing often find that their work or lives are monotonous, and thus find no fulfilment in whatever they do, leading to weak performance. Though change is good and essential, not many people desire or appreciate it, especially in a job setting. That is why managers have to ensure that they come up with an action plan that leads to a smooth change from one setting to another.
The managers should design a change management action plan that helps the employees trust and love the new system or way of doing things, clearly showing them what should change, why this change needs to happen, and how it is going to smoothly take place.
What needs to change?
First and foremost, there is need to identify where the problem is. You cannot give a solution to a problem that you have not clearly identified yet. You need to see what is currently wrong, and what is working well. If something is not working, get to find out why, by engaging the people responsible or the clients. If it is bad communication, a technological problem or lack of direction and leadership, identify the cause.
After you pinpoint the problems and their causes, you need to seek solutions. Most leaders strain to come up with solutions to all problems by themselves, but this may not be the best way. Good solutions lie with those that interact with the systems all the time; the clients, staff and their leaders. It is good for managers to hear other people’s solutions. It is also necessary to research and see what others did when they had the same problem, discovering what works and what doesn’t.
The board or managers then need to sit and discuss all the proposed solutions, and narrow them down until they come up with just one or two. This is the change that needs to happen. While others give their input, it is the responsibility of the managers to decide what change is going to happen.
Writing the Action Plan
1. List the action steps
Make the decision on how the organization will achieve the needed change, and then set measurable goals for every department. You can leave the specifics and logistics to the respective departments. This is the first step of your change management action plan. Make sure that you identify the skill-sets and resources needed, even from consultants and other outside players. The budget should also be very realistic to avoid financial setbacks.
2. Time frame
The change management has to set a suitable pace for the firm. If it is too fast and abrupt, it might confuse the employees. If it is too slow, interest and momentum could be lost. Gauge your firm’s ability, the clients’ requirements, and the need for this change.
3. Identify obstacles
A smooth change does not come because there are no obstacles, it comes because the managers identified them and planned on how to circumvent them. The change management plan has to take obstacles into consideration. List those you feel might arise.
4. Write the full plan down
You can write down a detailed and a less detailed change management action plan for managers and junior employees, respectively. Show the problem, list the advantages of the change, and demonstrate the stages involved. Include the people in charge of every step after identifying their strengths. Do not forget the budget and resources needed.
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.