5-Steps to Managing Change in an Organization

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managing change in an organization manage change in an organization

Organizational change often takes place for the overall betterment of the organization but that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges. Change can be perceived negatively so it is important to skillfully manage these transitions. Here are a few tips for change management:

1. Develop a Plan

This tip seems to be universal for dealing with change. Having a plan for any organizational transition keeps management and employees on track to the overall strategic goal. The plan acts as a compass in decision-making.

The Harvard Business Review reports “about 70% of all change initiatives fail.” In order to avoid being a part of this statistic, planning is a crucial step.

2. Ask the Right Questions

Implementing a plan won’t do any good if the right questions aren’t being asked.

Tobren Rick, an experienced executive with a strong track record in delivering business improvements and performance optimization, reports that “change programs that succeed put an equal emphasis on both performance and health in answering seven basic change management questions that should shape any change program.”

  1. Who are we?
  2. Where do we want to go?
  3. How ready are we to start?
  4. What practical steps to take?
  5. How to manage the journey?
  6. How do we keep going forward?
  7. How do we avoid mistakes?

3. Set Realistic Expectations

An important part of managing change is the effects it has on the people of the organization.

Eric Morgan, CEO of Workfront, noted in an article for Inc. that “you can't control how your employees feel or the stories they tell themselves. But you can frequently communicate your vision of the company as a dynamic and evolving organization, where progress and change are inevitable.”

Setting expectations with employees that change is inevitable sets a precedent for organizational culture.

4. Reinforce the Positives but Still Address Feelings

Not all change comes with full employee support. Many times employees feel negatively affected by the changes.

It’s important to address the feelings of employees to avoid low morale and negative effects on productivity and wellness.

Morgan also states to “never package a negative change as a positive one.” Employees will see right through it and will view it as insincere.

He notes to “outline your plan for forward growth, the measures you’ve put in place to avoid this happening again, and other details that will give your employees more hope for the future. But don’t insult your staff by pretending that a 10% reduction in force is going to be wonderful for them personally.”

5. Be Flexible

It’s important to have a change management plan as an implementation compass but remember that it is also important to remain flexible.

When situations change and issues arise, one must adapt. It’s important to reflect on and assess each step of the process in order to identify and address potential problems.

The 2013 Change and Communication ROI Survey found that “employers felt 55% of change management met initial objectives, but only 25% felt gains were sustained over time.” This speaks to the fact that change is not a one-and-done initiative. It has to be evaluated, adjusted, and engrained into the company’s culture and policies.

Change Management Training Course

Change Management Training Course

In ERC's Change Management training, participants will learn strategies for helping themselves, as well as others, through change. They will acquire the confidence and skills needed to face change.

Learn More about Change Management