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3 Critical Change Management Strategies

Feb24
If change is a good thing, why do so many organizations have trouble managing key business transitions? From upgrading technology systems to giving the reins to a new CEO, it's common for details to fall through the cracks — and for employees to end up feeling uncertain or frustrated.

According to research by McKinsey & Company, about 70 percent of all changes in all organizations fail. That number holds steady after two decades of change: from corporate reorganizations to new software systems and quality-improvement projects.

Even something as simple as a change to your company’s HR system can generate an unforeseen ripple effect — and cause delays that can cost your business time, resources, and negatively impact employee satisfaction.

Whether you’re dabbling in new technologies to improve your information flow or building a new mobile policy, your company needs a thoughtful change management strategy for each individual initiative. Limit damage and optimize the potential for success by taking the following steps:

Communicate Extensively

Resistance to change is, to some extent, psychological. Busy team members don’t have time to learn new systems on a shoestring — they’re extremely busy and committed to the day-to-day aspects of their jobs.

If you’re planning to make a major change at your organization, make sure to prep your workforce ahead of time. Let team members know — as far in advance as you can — that change is coming. Host webinars, in-person meetings, and provide consistent email updates with status reports. Remember that people learn from a variety of channels and will need to see your company to effectively communicate its transition plan in varying levels of detail to fully grasp and embrace it.

Hire a Consultant

The best way to learn is from people who have been there before. If you’re implementing a major change to your business — such as a merger, acquisition, change in management, or foundational piece of technology — consider hiring a consultant who has worked with organizations like yours in the past.

Consultants can help streamline the change management process by helping your business anticipate and avoid known challenges. Don’t make the same costly mistakes that so many others have made before you.

“Sell” to Your Stakeholders

In order for change to be successful, you need buy-in at all employee levels. In addition to explaining how employees should expect change, make sure to reinforce the “why” and what’s “in it” for them.

Management is equal parts emotions and logic. Help your employees feel inspired by and connected to your new vision. You can start by hosting an open dialogue or forum. Invite team members to be a core part of the planning and design stages. Move forward with complete and total transparency.

Final Thoughts

Change is necessary, but it won’t be easy. Prepare for the unexpected, and budget more time thank you think you expect. Plan, implement and execute a smart change management process. No matter what, make sure to prioritize the emotional component of your company’s new plan.

At the end of the day, you need employee support to be up and running successfully. Make sure that your teams are fully empowered to navigate key transitions together.