8 Key Strategies For Managing Change

In my experience of practical strategies for managing change, I have identified 8 key areas that need to be considered and addressed in order to maximise your chances of success with a change initiative.(1) DriversAssessing the case for change: Kurt Lewin’s force field analysis work provides useful background and a practical tool for assessing the case for change – a necessary first step and an integral aspect of your strategies for managing change.(2) Business As UsualThe single biggest and most important early decision that you will make, is to decide whether the change can be handled within the context of business as usual or not.(3) Resources and Capabilities

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The size of your organisation together with your knowledge base will determine what resources to consider to implement your strategies for managing change.(4) LeadershipIs change just about the management or, does it involve leadership? If so, what’s the difference? How you define and exercise leadership in the present climate will be a significant determinant in your organisation’s fortunes and is thus a key aspect of your strategies for managing change.(5) Cultural ImpactsWhat are the effects of your business culture on change management? Organisational culture – is more important than you may realise. It determines how your people will respond to a change initiative.(6) Preparation and PlanningThe amount of time allocated to the pre change programme review and planning process is variable – the size of the proposed change and how business critical it is, are useful guidelines. But whatever time is allocated, it is time very well spent as the process is designed to make you: think deeply about your proposed change; understand as fully as possible the impact it is likely to have, and work out clearly exactly how you are going to reap the benefits from the change.(7) Macro managementOf all possible strategies for managing change, at the macro level, the programme management based approach to change management is the one most likely to ensure that you avoid the 70% failure rate. This approach has as it goal, the full realisation of the business benefits that will be derived from the delivery of the new capability. It is this holistic approach that links vision to strategy and all the way through to implementation and successful benefit realisation.

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(8) Micro managementManaging change in a day to day business as usual context requires hands-on detailed micro management in the specifics of how to do it, and especially during the early stages. It is up to you to define and communicate those actionable steps, and to manage your people through the process of implementing and integrating those steps as the new modus operandi.

Strategies For Managing Change – 9 Questions That I Highly Recommend

As you consider your strategies for managing change – there are 3 implicit questions: (a) What do I need to know? (b) What works? (c) How do I apply it?Trouble is, we so often get stuck on old assumptions, and as Marshall McLuhan once said: “Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.”It may seem obvious but you would be surprised but how many times I have asked the question of directors considering some form of change initiative: “Why are you doing it and how will it benefit you and how will you know it’s benefited you?” – and got a vague or general answer along the lines of “we’ll be… bigger… better… closer to our customers… reduce our costs… etc”

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The 9 key questionsSo as you think about and plan your proposed change – these are the 9 questions that will set you on the right course:(1) In broad terms – how do you see it being different and better after the change? Have you told your staff? Did they share your view?(2) What is your company like now, in terms of your culture and core processes – the key issues you face and how you all behave?(3) Specifically how will the business be different after the change and in what ways will that change be noticeable?(4) Do you have a clear definition of what your changed organisation will look like? Have you documented this?(5) Have you defined and documented each of the specific benefits to be achieved though this change? (i.e. what is it – what difference will it make – where in organisation does it arise – how will its achievement be measured??)(6) Have you communicated these benefits to your staff? And have you received and responded to their feedback?(7) Have you documented in a list all those who are involved in the change? And specifically undertaken a brief analysis of how the change will impact them?

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(8) Have worked out a communication strategy- and that one that will work two-ways and feedback to you?(9) Have you identified what could go wrong and what you might need to do to avoid that happening?Of all strategies for managing change – the programme management based approach is the most likely to ensure that you avoid the staggering and needless 70% failure rate. These 9 questions are based on this approach and some of the key stages of how to manage change successfully.

Strategies For Managing Change – This One Simple Process Will Help You Avoid the 70% Failure Rate

Ok given all the available strategies for managing change – why do so many business initiatives and ventures needlessly fail to deliver the promised benefits and increases in shareholder value? Why is the failure rate a staggering and consistent 70%?In my view – any major business initiative or venture that fails to identify and quantify the impact on those people most affected by it carries a high risk of failure.The numbers may make sense but have the political and cultural factors been assessed?There are several reasons why this is often not addressed: first and foremost because the focus is on getting the deal done; secondly because a corporate culture is hard to see (especially if you are in it) and this is compounded by the fact that there is often more than one culture, and finally because it is hard to talk about.And yet… the price of failure comes high!The reason why understanding your cultures is so important is that they are the single biggest determinant of how people in your organisation will behave – and especially in the context of a step change.

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I have developed a diagnostic process that allows a company to test the impact of a proposed business initiative or venture on those people most affected by it, to identify why it may fail and to establish precisely what has got to be done to make it a success.Principal benefits are that it is low tech and simple to understand and apply, it involves staff at all levels and enables them to articulate difficult issues in a non-confrontational way, and it can be undertaken quickly and before large sums of money are irrevocably committed to the venture or initiativeThere are three phases to this process:* Situation Analysis – that defines a cultural frame work for the company and will also identify all of the significant subcultures within the company that will assist or resist progress towards the business objectives of the proposed venture.* Gap Analysis -plots the positions of key entities within the company and highlights the gaps between this and where the directors say or think the company is, and where they want to be.* Resolution -shows the tasks, steps and processes that have to be undertaken. All implications, issues and exposures are analysed, categorised and prioritised across all functional areas impacted by the proposed venture.In this planning process there are no fixed parameters as to who should or shouldn’t be included – it may be conducted with just a very small senior management team comprising 2 or 3 people – or extended to include a wider cross section of management and staff.The process is designed to:1. Make you think deeply about your proposed change;

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2. To understand as fully as possible the impact it is likely to have, and3. To work out clearly exactly how you are going to reap the benefits from the change.If all this seems like a lot of work – yes it is! I won’t deny that this process can be time consuming – but it will ensure that you dramatically increase your chances of success – and as a by-product save you an inestimable amount of time, hassle and money in the future.Alternatively, do what most organisations do – go ahead and skip all of this – dive straight into a project or task level implementation of your good idea – and considerably increase your chances of joining the failures.If at this point you are thinking to yourself that this all seems very simple and obvious – you are of course perfectly correct. But these steps are so simple and obvious that they are usually over looked – and the result is a 70% failure rate.

Strategies For Managing Change – How to Manage and Mitigate Risks and Issues

Failure reasons in change management are many and varied. But one thing is painfully clear: Any organisational initiative that creates change – or has a significant change element to it – has a 70% chance of not achieving what was originally envisaged. So risk management and mitigation is clearly an extremely important aspect of the change management process.A programme management based approach to change leadership and change management will cause you to clearly think through all of the key aspects of how you are going to deliver your vision. So as you think about and plan your proposed change – these are the 8 questions that will set you on the right course:

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(1) How’s it going to be different when I’ve made the change?
(2) Why am I doing this – how’s it going to benefit me?
(3) How will I know it’s benefited me?
(4) Who’s it going to affect and how will they react?
(5) What can I do to get them “on side”?
(6) What are the risks and issues that I’ll have to face?
(7) What steps do I take to make the changes and get the benefit?
(8) How am I going to manage all this so that it happens and I succeed?The risk question comes in at number six because if you carefully work through the earlier questions you will go a long way to anticipating and mitigating a lot of the obvious risks – not least the people related risks and issues.Creating a simple risk management strategy and risk logHowever as you progress through your change initiative, the nature, likelihood and impact of perceived risks will change over the duration of the programme. Also, some risks will become greater as a result of another unforeseen event occurring, and new risks may need to be identified as implementation progresses.It is extremely useful to take a structured approach to this by creating a simple risk management strategy and reviewing it regularly; and creating, maintaining and updating a “risk log” as risks change. This will shape how you approach the following:

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– Allocating responsibilities and processes for risk monitoring and control
– Identifying new risks as they emerge
– Maintaining and updating your risk log
– Assessing risks and developing possible countermeasures
– Prioritising, actioning, controlling, escalating and reporting risksOf all the strategies for managing change, and leading change, the programme management based approach is the most likely to ensure that you avoid the staggering and needless 70% failure rate.

Strategies For Managing Change in Small to Mid Size Businesses

Strategies for managing change have been a focal point for senior leaders for many years, at least in larger corporate environments. If you go to the other end of the spectrum, leaders of very small businesses might scoff at the notion that billions of dollars are being spent every year on change management consultants.They may be right. The fundamentals of change management are not that complicated. But the strategies for managing change, and doing it well, are not quite the same when you have 4 or 5 employees as when you have 25 and need to grow to 100.Effective Change Management
Why do you need to change? Everyone has a different answer — my market is growing; my market is shrinking; I need to keep up with technology; I need to improve efficiency and cut costs; the list goes on.What do you need to change? There really are only three things you can change: people, process and technology.When you think about your strategies for managing change, what can you learn from the big companies that spend all that money on consultants? Once you’ve gotten big enough that you can’t control every detail, it’s your people who are going to make or break your change management efforts.Your people will learn to utilize new technology, or they won’t. Your people will learn and accept changes in work processes, or they won’t. Your people will adapt to new management, new hires, a merger with another group of people, etc., or they won’t.

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Your job is clear.Step One — Focus on the Basics
Every successful strategy for managing change does three things:Articulate a vision — So many leaders miss this step. You have an end game in mind, whether you are merging companies, changing products lines, or upgrading your back office systems. After the change is completed, this is what the company will look like, and this is how it contrasts with today. You know what the end game looks like. Never miss the opportunity to share it with your people and if appropriate, your customers. Do it frequently — repetition helps understanding.
Give the reasons — It’s amazing what happens when people don’t understand why a company is changing. In the absence of clear information, people will form their own reasons. If they don’t particularly like or agree with the changes, the reasons they dream up will usually have something to do with management wanting to get rich at their expense. That’s not why you’re putting them through changes in their status quo, is it? Then tell them why, and make it credible and honest.
Answer the WIIFM question — What’s In It For Me? Whether it’s survival (I get to keep my job), or growth (I get new opportunities and maybe more money) or something else, you need to answer that question. If you don’t, someone else will and you may not like the answer.Step Two — Communications and Patience
I probably lost half my audience with that last word, but don’t give up. You’ve done step one. You’ve got a vision, you can articulate the end game and the reasons you need to get there. And you’ve got a good strong answer to the WIIFM question.You know you need to communicate all of these, and you’re prepared to do so. But you’re an action oriented leader in a fast paced, competitive environment. Patience is not part of your DNA. Once you’ve communicated, you want to get moving!How long have you been thinking about the changes you need to make? How long did it take you to decide on the new processes, negotiate the merger, or otherwise come to the conclusions you’ve reached now? You know what needs to be done, you understand why, and you’re ready to go.How about your people? When you start your communications activities, they’re going to have questions. They’re going to be trying to understand. They may have doubts that they will need to work out. They are not at your level of comprehension or appreciation for what you’re asking them to do. There is a timeline of understanding, and they are not caught up to you on that timeline.

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The same principle applies, by the way, to your customers if anything you’re doing is going to impact them.You need to allow people to reach your level of understanding, at their own pace. That requires patience. It’s not unlimited patience, and you can do smart things like over communicating to accelerate the pace. But if you fail to allow the time for people to grasp what’s changing and why, the probability of success is decreased.Step 3 — Engage Key Opinion Leaders
No strategy for managing change would be complete without discussing the most important implementation tactic. I’ve written about Key Opinion Leaders in other articles and I need to mention it here.The Key Opinion Leaders are the people in your organization who most influence the behavior of others. They have influence because they are respected. They are your best hope for accelerating your change strategy if you find and engage them first. They could become your biggest barrier to successful change if you don’t.