23 Sep Five Tips to Implementing Change Within an Organisation
One of the only certainties in the business world is change. Organisations must be open to continuous change and improvement if they want to develop, to ensure they are reacting to shifting market dynamics and maintain competitive advantages.
The process of transition can present its own difficulties. Regardless of the situation, any big corporate change will need careful preparation and consideration. To guarantee that the changes are executed properly and sustainably, the entire organisation will also need to comprehend and support the changes, with each team member pulling in the same direction.
Because of this, any company looking to execute change will need to think about the necessary processes and follow them carefully to produce the greatest results.
A five-step approach to implementing change
Change may be introduced within an organisation under a variety of circumstances. In some instances, it will be to develop proactive transformation and efficiency, generate new business opportunities, create a streamlined structure or account for the possibility of a merger or acquisition. Otherwise, it will be a necessary step to turn a failing business model around or rectify long-standing weaknesses that have held the organisation back.
No matter the motive for the transformation, the foundational principles of change management remain largely the same. If your business is looking to make a significant change in the way it operates, consider following these steps:
1. Identify the necessary change and assess its impact
To make sure the changes you are looking to implement are right for the business, you will need to holistically review and analyse your organisation’s starting position. This will help you to fully understand the root causes of your current challenges and the steps required to minimise or mitigate those issues.
Once you have identified the necessary changes, you will need to perform an impact assessment to understand how they might affect your business model, service delivery and/or workforce. This is key to a successful transformation, as you will need to understand and predict the impact of the change on the pathway or value stream, from an internal and external customer perspective, assessing where benefit will be derived and what support will be required.
2. Develop a plan for change
With the assessment complete, you will be able to develop a comprehensive plan of action. This should detail the changes you intend to make, how they will be achieved, what the phases of the change will look like, and which sections of the business may need additional support during the transition.
The plan should include clear milestones and metrics that will be used to monitor the progress of the implementation and help to identify and proactively address any foreseeable obstacles or delays to progress.
3. Bring your employees on board
Change management cannot succeed without the buy-in of employees at every level of the organisation, as they will ultimately be responsible for implementing the transformation. To bring your employees on board, you will need to communicate the purpose of the changes, explain your goals, clearly outline who will be responsible for taking action, how this will translate into measurable outcomes and empower the team to facilitate the requisite change.
During this process, you must be open to hearing the feedback and ideas of your employees to ensure that everyone within the business feels involved in the decision-making process. This will help to foster a culture of change across the entire company, ensuring individuals and teams will proactively drive the improvements you are seeking to achieve.
4. Implement the change
Now is the time to implement the change. Our advice is to carry this out in structured stages in accordance with the plan you have developed. This will ensure that the work is prioritised correctly without the team becoming overwhelmed, and will avoid the risk of excessive disruption to your day-to-day service delivery.
In many instances, it can be useful, if not necessary, to carry out a pilot programme or trial the change on a smaller scale initially. This will give you an opportunity to stress-test the plans in real-world scenarios, gather feedback and improve the process before moving ahead to a company-wide rollout.
5. Monitor and evaluate the impact of the change
To ensure that the business transformation process is conducted effectively and yields the expected results, close supervision is required. In order to identify any problems or unexpected results and address them as quickly as possible, monitoring should be most intensive during the initial phases of the implementation.
Monitoring should continue after the initial launch phase to track the ongoing impact of your change programme, measuring it against your predetermined markers of success and assessing whether your goals have been met. This information will form the basis of any future improvement projects you decide to undertake.
Naturally, each change management process will differ based on the unique requirements and goals of the organisation, as well as the environment in which it is functioning. You can, however, increase your odds of successfully making changes that have long-lasting advantages by adhering to these steps.
About the author
Ian Chambers is CEO of Linea, a change management and business improvement agency founded in 2004. Ian is a business improvement specialist with more than 20 years of experience leading complex operational and financial turnaround, transformation, and continuous improvement programmes for organisations of all sizes.