How to #5 Implement Change

Hi I’m back to share my thoughts on Implementation & Training (building awareness) of the Change Management Plan.

In my blog, How to #4 Manage the Scope of the Change: Planning Organizational Change, I discussed how important the planning phase is. Now we can talk about making The Plan a reality.

  • Leadership support
  • Early preparation
  • Employee involvement (Right Person, Right Seat)
  • Communication (Right message, Right People, Right Medium)
  • Getting started

Note: Monitoring and follow up (changing direction when results are out of alignment) will be covered in number six in my Change Management Blog Series.

Leadership Support

Demonstrating that the upcoming improvement project has full leadership support is vital to its success. Leadership must take an active role and stay the course, by saying what they will do and doing what they say.  Redirects of the project have to be handle in a formal manner, giving the team time to adjust to the new direction.  If modifications are handled haphazardly, the trust that leadership has attained will be lost.

A final review of The-Plan to assure that leadership and support teams are aligned and that the communication tools are clear to all is a critical step. Pay special attention to all required resources, do not allow resources to become stretched too thin, such as too many initiatives introduced at the same time. Final review should include:

  • Assignments
  • Timelines
  • Contingencies
  • Methods for communication, including feedback

Make certain that The-Plan addresses ­­avenues to make the project as easy as possible for the entire team, if it becomes difficult have a plan in place for immediate re-evaluation.

Early Preparation

Once The-Plan has been reviewed and accepted it is time to spread the word. What is changing, why is it changing, give details of the expected outcome(s). Post the timeline(s) so each effected department or function is aware of “The When”, providing individuals with ample time to get used to the idea and perform any pre-change activities to ease the way.

Employee involvement (Right Person, Right Seat)

Realization of the timeline will be contingent on making the right assignments; sufficient resources, people with the right skills, influence and motivation to keep up with the pace of the project and their ability to handle unexpected complications.  It’s easy to think that simply having a certain number of people available to effect the change is enough. In reality it’s the number of qualified and competent people and the right project leaders that spell “Success”.

Make it clear who is accountable to report on progress, who is responsible for actionable steps, and who has the authority to make decisions.

Monitoring the project and assessing feedback will assure that the appointees continue to meet the expectations of their individual assignments.  If it is determined that talent requires reallocation, employ a positive approach to maintain confidence in the project.  Some companies have effectively introduced rewards programs to enhance employee buy-in and continuing efforts.

Communication (Right message, Right People, Right Medium)

Give The-Plan a voice!  This is the most valuable tool leadership has to win a change management victory.

Remember that The-Plan should provide communication details;

  • What is the message or training required for each phase, department or function?
  • Who needs to receive specific messages or training?
  • What medium will be employed to communicate the message or training (emails, posted notices, presentations, document distribution, team-training, individual-training, all-hands, a call-center)?

The-Plan should include regular updates; to share the Good News (post reports exhibiting value of process at specified intervals) or share difficulties that have surfaced along the way and how leadership plans to address them.  Talk al lot, talk often, just be sure that the talk (message) is consistent.

Getting Started

Ready-Set-Go – Today is the day, are you ready?

There is a buzz in the building; much anticipation, the team is as ready as they can be.

Roll out the first steps exactly as planned, meet any resistance with positive reinforcement, make sure all team leaders are present and available to focus on implementation (today they need to leave their other hats in the closet).  Each leader should record any potential or real obstacles or unexpected benefits.  Allow time at the end of the day for a debrief (this feedback could prove to be invaluable).

In the next of my Change Management Blog Series, I will discuss monitoring the change process, redirection when a specified process shows signs of misalignment, unexpected mid-process deficiencies or failures and how to establish reports for future trends.

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