According to Peter Drucker "culture eats strategy for breakfast". We recommend that you adapt the way you introduce change management into your organisation to match with its culture rather than force the new change management discipline onto your culture. To prepare your organisation in the most effective way, you need to understand the organisation structure, its cultural norms, its different people and their expectations as well as the change you intend on implementing. Taking these into account will help you to create a change strategy, unique to the project and workforce, with the best chance of full adoption by those directly impacted.
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
A fear of the unknown can often come into play from change initiatives. Factoring in regular opportunities to communicate what the project will look like as it progresses, as well as the end goal allows employees to see the part they have to play, making the end goal feel attainable and the process of getting there less daunting. Understanding the relative complexity of your change and its likely level of disruption will be one dimension helpful in sizing and scaling your change management strategy.
2. Evaluate the organisation's readiness by function
Although a single change initiative will be common to all functions its impact can be very differently felt by one organisational function compared to another. Maybe your Sales team will be lightly impacted on this particular change but the folks in Finance will have many aspects of their daily job changing significantly as a result of your initiative. Understanding this variation of impact from function to function is a key determinant of the risk of change failure, a failure of the directly impacted employees to make a sustained change to the current ways of working demanded by your initiative. Considerations can then be made on how best to address these areas by including appropriate actions in your change management strategy.
3. Focus your communications on your audiences
Change management is the people side of change, so it’s imperative that your strategy is heavily focused on your different audiences. Communications need to be designed with each and every audience in mind. Sure every communication should answer the key questions about the purpose of your change - why?, why now?, what are the consequences if we don't change? but also there should also be a section answering the Whats In It For Me (WIIFM) to participate in this change question that each different audience will have.
4. Identify and calibrate potential risks of the change (and of not changing)
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 mentally prepares employees that change is necessary however unpalatable it might at first seem. Highlighting that the current situation is likely to decrease/get worse may enable greater buy in for the change, especially in projects that have a high degree of technology substituting labour e.g digital transformation, AI etc.
5. Anticipate resistance and prioritise tactics
Asking why different employee groups are likely to resist a change is a best practice but seldom a common practice. Sometimes it's helpful to score these in order of importance and level of potential disruption. Once scored and prioritised it is valuable to brainstorm special tactics to introduce without delay to mitigate the highest priority risks. Keep your primary sponsor informed so that they too are aware of the principal concerns and areas where most attention needs to be focused.
To facilitate effective and lasting change, it is paramount change management staff are equipped to execute the definition, analysis, planning and implementation phases of the change project. In the three day virtual, instructor-led Prosci Change Management Practitioner Certification course you will be taught the research-based Prosci methodology and will apply the holistic and practical change management toolkit to your project. On completion you will gain accreditation as a certified practitioner, giving you confidence in your change management approach.
Watch our video to find out more about the full curriculum of the Prosci Change Management Practitioner Certification course from CMC and register today for virtual or face to face courses.