Change, especially what might be perceived by some people as a negative change, can create a significant amount of resistance. When I work with companies trying to make a substantial change, I counsel them that there are a few key steps they must plan and execute superbly for any change program to be successful. In the following, I will outline the essential elements of an effective change process.
1. Establish an Irresistible Case for Change
It is critical, perhaps the most vital step, to demonstrate that the status quo is no longer acceptable. Things must change. We have no other options but to move in a new direction. You must present the unassailable facts as to why this change is critical to the future of your business.
2. Communicate a Vision of the New Future
After you have established the pressing need for change, you must then communicate a clear and compelling vision of the future. What great things will this change bring? You need to answer the questions: “What is in it for me? Why should I embrace this change? How will it make my life better?”
3. Create a Strong Sense of Urgency
Now that you have established the case for change and over-communicated a vivid vision of the future, you must get people moving quickly toward the vision. If things drag out too long, people will give up on the change process. Unfortunately, I have seen this time and time again, people get excited about some new program or project, and nothing happens. At this point, the resistors believe that if they hold out long enough, “this too shall pass.” For a change process to be successful, it must have a fast tempo.
4. Build a Guiding Coalition
It is imperative to create a coalition of respected and trusted individuals to serve as change champions. This group needs to be the entire senior team, key managers, and people who might not have any formal title but are strong opinion leaders in the organization that people see as highly credible. If you get these opinion leaders on your team, the change process will go much more smoothly. If any of these people are vocal about their lack of support for the change, it will make things extremely difficult.
5. Plan for Small Wins
Success does not happen by chance, fate, or good luck. It happens because you plan for it. It is essential to establish some attainable short-term goals to quickly build momentum for the success of the change project. We all know people love to be on a winning team, so if anyone is sitting on the fence, they are more likely to jump in and join in the process as soon as they see things starting to go well.
6. Give All the Credit to the People
Once the change process begins to take hold, the guiding coalition needs to step back and let the employees own the project’s success. For people to stay committed over the long haul, they need to feel like they are personally making a difference and that their effort and ideas are positively impacting the company.
Many other factors go into the change process, such as a communications plan, ensuring the necessary training, resources, and support for employees. However, without these six steps, the change process cannot be successful.
If you want to get in contact with me, I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my site at https://johnspence.com/contact/ and let me know how I can help.