10 Tips for making change stick in challenging times


How to make change happen using timeless techniques

Change readiness isn’t optional in our fast-paced world, which is why Clerestory seamlessly integrates change management in client projects.  For global organizations to stay competitive, they must actively develop teams capable of assessing and adapting their own processes.  This is the best way to build a resilient culture that values proactive problem solving and collaborates to ensure consistent improvement.  Fortunately, change management aptitude is built like any other worthwhile skill: intentionally and as a result of deliberate practice.

Here are 10 change management techniques that can fortify your organization’s ability to thrive in uncertain times:

  1. Collect, analyze, and use data
    Informed decision making inspires confidence during transitional periods.  Data allows people to see both the evidence that change is needed and the impact it could have.  Use it to clearly define your starting point and which specific lead indicators you need to focus on to reach your goals.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate
    Good communication is the perfect antidote to chaos and confusion.  Determine your audience and objective before issuing any announcements to ensure your messages are targeted, concise, and clearly identify any action steps.  This requires strategic thinking and good organization, but it’s worth the effort.
  3. Know your stakeholders
    Knowing who your stakeholders are and what they need in order to be productive is vital for making fast progress when stakes are high.  This starts with listening.  Taking the time to identify what information and resources people need to be part of the solution makes sure no one is left behind or underutilized.
  4. Engage leadership in the change
    People look to leadership for answers during turbulent seasons, and whom you assign to take the reigns sends a clear message about your project’s importance.  Arm leaders with the information they need to ease any concerns or anxiety that could interfere with swift progress so productive dialogue can ensue.
  5. Appoint stakeholder representatives 
    Once you’ve identified your stakeholder groups, make sure each has a representative voice.  People support what they create, so allowing ample opportunity for involvement increases people’s sense of ownership and fosters a collaborative culture.
  6. Identify the reasons for change
    For people to abandon hard-wired patterns of behavior, they must have compelling reasons to change.  Provide information that explains both the problems with current methods and the promise new processes hold.  Appealing to people’s logic helps them overcome their preference for their comfort zone.
  7. Give people a clear vision to work towards
    Remind people why they’re putting in the effort to adopt new routines by creating and promoting a unifying vision capable of inspiring continued action.  Reinforcing this vision regularly helps turn the initial enthusiasm for change into tangible momentum.
  8. Describe what’s in it for each stakeholder group 
    While a unifying vision strengthens company culture, different stakeholders will ultimately be motivated by different outcomes.  Make sure each group understands what they specifically stand to gain by participating in the change.  Being able to “visualize your end game” isn’t just a tactic that invites success in sports.
  9. Turn trials into an opportunity for growth and development 
    Weak leaders often react to change by micromanaging their people, but this disempowers staff when they may already be feeling fearful or frustrated. Instead, turn challenges into an opportunity for growth by encouraging people to play to their strengths and work together to seek innovative solutions.
  10. Anticipate and mitigate risks 
    One of the key benefits of making data-led decisions is that it prepares you to anticipate and mitigate risks.  Tracking lead indicators helps teams stay on track and measure their progress, but it also gives them an invaluable edge should they need to analyze the risks associated with in-project changes.

Practicing change management techniques as a matter of priority can improve your organization in the short term and strengthen your resilience for years to come.  By using data to drive your decisions and creating communications that speak to your stakeholders’ logic and goals, you can invite the kind of participation that successful change requires.  Use these strategies to describe your reasons, define your risks, and drive support for your most important initiatives in order to thrive in any business climate.

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