Change Management Tips & Techniques
Becky S. Corbett, MSW, ACSW, Emily Tevault, MBA, and Hilary Ashmen, M.Ed.
Effective leaders help others to understand the necessity of change and to accept a common vision of the desired outcome. John P. Kotter
In today’s rapidly changing global society, the one constant is change. It happens in your organization, professional career, and personal life. It may involve a new position, organizational restructuring, moving to a new location, or budget modifications. Individuals may oppose change for a variety of reasons including fear, instability, or feeling of loss. The key to promoting a positive transformation is change management. Preparation, communication and collaboration throughout implementation, and evaluation of the process will support effective change. Below are Tips & Techniques to facilitate your successful journey.
Assess need for change
In order to know where you want to go, first assess where you are today. Intentional change addresses the areas that are no longer moving an individual or organization forward. Review processes, systems, policies, culture, and structure to identify strengths and opportunities to improve. Preserve values, keep what makes you unique, and retain what is working well. This will provide a level of consistency throughout the process.
Engage change agents
Change can be hard for everyone, even when the necessity is clear. Identify the people who are widely respected, model trust, and create buy-in. Champions of change who become leaders of change set the example for others. They model the attitudes and behaviors necessary for effective transformation.
Throughout the change process, transparent communication strengthens trust, avoids assumptions, and alleviates the fear of the unknown. Communicate often, consistently, and to the right people. Each person wants to understand the why. Why is it changing? What is changing? When is it changing?
Change doesn’t happen alone. The change agent needs to identify all of the stakeholders, define their roles, and build rapport and relationships. Be intentional about which relationships are needed, such as friends and family, colleagues, and members of the community. When everyone works toward a common goal, they have the opportunity to communicate their ideas and move more effectively through the process.
Expect the unexpected. Delays in scheduling, technical issues, and people resisting change may occur. Strategies to minimize negative impacts include building delays into the timeline, allowing time to teach new technology, and strengthening relationships. When there are bumps in the road and challenges, the change agent’s role is to remain positive and focus on solutions to achieve the desired outcome.
Facilitate training and growth opportunities
Training creates a culture of growth and promotes ownership of the change. It provides the opportunity to remove barriers and makes available the skills to be successful. Incorporate adult learning strategies into the training to demonstrate how to apply new or modified processes that are a result of the change.
Express gratitude and celebrate successes
Effective change takes time. A genuine thank you goes a long way. Recognize the small milestones and how they move the team to implement the change successfully. Be purposeful, specific, and acknowledge skills and actions. Expressing gratitude shows that you care and appreciate stakeholder contributions to the process.
Build in accountability and evaluations
You build credibility when you deliver and do what you say you will do. Take ownership of your role and create a system of accountability to one another. Evaluate progress throughout the change process, identify challenges and address them, express and document what you learned, and keep improving.
Purposeful change transforms the individual, organization, and community. Incorporating all the components needed to effectively manage the process takes time, commitment, and perseverance. How will you be a champion for change? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.
Change is Good…You Go First: 21 Ways to Inspire Change by Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein
Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber
Who Killed Change?: Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change by Ken Blanchard, John Britt, Judd Hoekstra, and Pat Zigarmi