With change comes questions, doubt, and so many more emotions. However, if change is implemented correctly within your organization, it can be done quickly with minimal problems.
It might make sense to jump straight into finding what you think is the best solution, and getting the project finished as quickly as possible. When organizations skip steps, avoid communication and collaboration, or ignore business needs, implementation of change usually backfires. Having a plan and maintaining open communications is key within all of these steps below.
Here are a few steps to follow to ensure a successful implementation of a new initiative:
Before you begin speaking to stakeholders and business users, evaluate the current process. Identify gaps, problems, and possible improvements. This is a great time to think about the future state of your process. Ignore current limitations to allow for innovative ideas.
Meet with stakeholders, business leaders, business users, or affected parties to gain insights into the current process. Possible questions include:
- How are you involved in the current process?
- How and why are you using this process to help you with your current role?
- What are your responsibilities within the process?
- What is missing?
- How do you think it could improve?
- What inefficiencies are you experiencing?
- What problems are you facing?
- Can we eliminate unnecessary steps?
These questions will help you gain insight into each person’s view of the process. However, to effectively transform organizational change, these conversations must be assessed holistically to gain a greater understanding of the business requirements and needs.
Now that you have business requirements and an understanding of the current process, research comes next. Researching ideas and solutions to improve the process for the entire business. Some thoughts to consider:
- Do we currently have tools to improve this process?
- Do we need to purchase tools to make this process more efficient?
- What can you automate throughout this process?
- What duplication is occurring?
- What can you eliminate?
- How does this process affect other organizational processes?
- Build & Test
You've talked with leaders and users, and you've done research. Now its time to build and test the new process by using your findings. By doing these steps in tandem, stakeholders can give feedback during the build. Waiting until the build is complete to provide updates or ask for feedback creates a strong possibility of additional time and work needed to undo and fix all the issues that could have been solved earlier in the process.
These next three steps are crucial when managing change and where most change initiatives fail:
For individuals to feel prepared for change, training is essential. Training allows business users to receive the resources they need to succeed. Let those affected know about the change by providing the following:
- How will they be affected?
- When will they be affected?
- How this change benefits them?
- Why did change occur?
- What are their new expectations?
- What technical training will they need?
- Who is going to help them when they have questions?
You've done all the work, and then you implement the new initiative into the organization. To ensure a smooth transition, be the catalyst. While some may take longer to adapt, keep reiterating the importance and need for change.
- Assess & Improve
After you begin putting this new initiative into place, problems will arise. That is unavoidable. How you handle these challenges will make or break this new initiative. Respond quickly with answers or solutions and communicate directly to let individuals know you've heard their concerns. By continually improving your efforts, adoption of this initiative occurs much quicker.
Armed with these seven secrets, you can take charge of your change implementation with confidence. Key points to keep in mind are to avoid entering into changes lightly, and maintain open and clear communications within your team – make sure you have a plan to follow and that everyone is clear on that plan. This way, you can get the project finished more quickly and confront issues head-on.
At Onebridge, we combine industry-leading technical expertise with deep understanding how businesses run across industries. We’d love to hear about your change management goals and challenges and help in any way we can -- contact us today.
Hana Roessler is finishing her last year in Orr Fellowship, a two-year post-grad development program focused on bringing and retaining talent in Indianapolis. Hana is involved with the marketing team, data analytics practice, and rotating her responsibilities to learn all facets of the business.