It’s recommended that until 70% of your culture confirms they are prepared for a change management effort, you aren’t ready to start taking action. To prepare your organisation in the most effective way, you need to understand the organisation, its culture and the change you intend on implementing. Taking all three of these into account will help you to create a change strategy, unique to the project and workforce, to maximise the positive adoption of change throughout the entire organisation.
The first step is to scope out factors that will shape your approach and drive the implementation efforts. We have listed tasks you might want to consider to prepare for change implementation.
1. Outline change characteristics
Addressing why, where and how change will be implemented will allow you to scope out the project and ultimately improve your strategy. For example, once you investigate how many people will be impacted by the project and who those people are, you can begin to plan how best to address them to meet their needs and challenges. A fear of the unknown can come into play within change initiatives, so if you factor in opportunities to communicate what the project will look like as it progresses as well as the end goal allows the workforce to visualise their position, making the end goal feel attainable and the process of getting there less daunting, encouraging your workforce to positively respond to the change.
2. Evaluate the organisation
This step to preparing for change implementation should never be overlooked. Although no two change projects are the same even within one organisation or team, looking back at previous change initiatives can provide useful insight into organisational culture and identify areas of resistance to be aware of. Considerations can then be made on how best to address such areas so you can factor in the necessary actions to take and outline these within the change strategy. Even if the change project, outcomes and people impacted appear to be wildly different, lessons can always be learned from positive and negative examples of change adoption.
3. Get to know your audience
Change management is the people side of change, so it’s imperative that your strategy is heavily focused on your audience. When preparing for change implementation, you might choose to evaluate who are the motivators and detractors within teams or groups of people. You can’t foresee every potential objection individuals may have however continually acknowledging the impact of change on an individual level will benefit your strategy as a one size fits all approach rarely achieves a positive outcome.
4. Draft potential risks of the change (and of not changing)
As already mentioned, the fear of the unknown can be a factor in people’s reluctance to adopt change, especially if the current situation appears to be suit the workforce just fine. As you would expect, mapping potential risks of the change project is a logical part of the planning process however reviewing the dangers of not implementing change is also a beneficial exercise. It can allow top level workers to see negative consequences of not changing and can be used as communication tool to the wider workforce. Highlighting that the current situation is likely to decrease/get worse may work to get buy in for the change project. Take digital transformation for example.
5. Score resistance and prioritise tactics
Analysing the potential areas that may be resistant to change is only step of the risk assessment phase. You may create a very long list of risks and people who might oppose the change so it's helpful to score these in order of importance. How you choose to score them depends on your project, organisation and potential risks identified. You may be able to identify areas where additional change management resources will need to be applied before you even begin the project. Make sure to communicate this with your primary sponsor too so that they are aware of the principle concerns and priority tactics for when particular attention will need to be paid.
To facilitate effective and lasting change, it's paramount change management staff are equipped to execute the planning and implementation phases of the change project. The three day Prosci Change Management Practitioner Certification course will teach you the researched-based Prosci methodology and provide you with a practical toolkit. On completion you will gain accreditation as a certified practitioner, giving you confidence in your change management capabilities. Find out more about more about the Prosci Change Management Practitioner Course and register today.