Top 10 tips for initiating successful change

Challenges of growth, economic downturn, competitive pressures, shifting and global markets and tougher trading conditions are some of the factors that cause organisations to change. This may result in the changing of focus, expanding or contracting activities and rethinking products and services that are offered.

Leading and managing change requires the objectives of the change to be met whilst at the same time gaining the buy in and commitment of staff before, during and after the implementation of change

Most change initiatives fail because employees are not engaged in the process. Change is something that is done to them – they are told that they have to change. Often there is not enough time to honour the past, to celebrate what has achieved and time to ‘let go’ of what has been.   

Some reasons why staff may resist change:

  • Loss of control: change is imposed upon them
  • Too much uncertainty: not knowing where the next step is going to take them
  • Comes as a surprise: not having a chance to be mentally prepared
  • Misunderstanding and lack of trust
  • Their perspective is different from those initiating the change. What they can see is the cost rather than the benefits
  • Fear that they not be able to develop the new skills and behaviour that will be required of them
  • Change requires people to become conscious of and to question familiar routines and habits. Doing something differently means reprogramming a new routine
  • May have a consequence elsewhere: for example, an earlier start may impact on childcare

 Here are my top 10 tips for initiating successful change:

  1. Tell people why the change is necessary and give them advance notice to allow time for this to be digested and to vent their concerns / feelings
  2. Allow expressions of nostalgia and grief for the past and create excitement for the future
  3. Paint them a vivid picture of the new state and sell the benefits. Communicate that vision in as many ways as possible
  4. Get people involved from the beginning. The more people are involved the more likely you are to get buy in and commitment
  5. Be clear about what is expected from people
  6. Offer positive reinforcement….let people know that they can do it
  7. Use supporters and champions to serve as models and to push the change forward  
  8. Help people find or feel compensated for the extra time and energy that change requires
  9. Celebrate wins and articulate how the change has made a difference
  10. Reinforce new behaviours so that it becomes the norm and how things get done

What is your experience of change? What would you add to the above?


About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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