Change is usually required to assist to foster a more customer-centric and competitive organization. It’s also required to improve agility and productivity, assist your business processes to run a cost-effective and easier manner.
Change management best practice refers to the activities or steps which a project leader or project team undertakes to ensure the project is completed as planned. Currently, many of the change management processes do draw their inspiration from social sciences, behavioral, business solutions and information technology. There are so many best practices for implementing change management in your project, some of them are:
1. Document The Case For Change
Normally, change management initiatives do fail when the stakeholders do not put enough strategies in communicating the changes and the impacts which are expected from the changes. To ensure you are clear about the changes, you should document them. In your documentation, you can include the following.
• Why you wish to undertake the changes
• The objectives and outcomes you wish to achieve through that change.
• How the changes will benefit the organization, stakeholders and also the surrounding environment.
Ensure you have answers to the above issues before you roll out any changes. Avoid rushing in communicating the changes as you can get a radical rebellion.
2. Design A Clear Vision
A strategic and clear message must be outlined well so that it reveals how the stakeholders will be affected and how these changes will improve the future progress of the organization.
By inclusively designing your vision, the easier it will be for other people to support it.
If you do not share the vision of change will all stakeholders, you may allow other competing factors to come in place. This can make it difficult for you to align daily operations to the changes.
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Success of change management best practice requires a realistic and full understanding of the upcoming complexities and challenges and the followed by actions that will address them. Through a simple act of scoping and defining adequately, the changes will ensure more credible and realistic change management plans.
If you do not have an early vision, it can lead to the risk of underestimating or overlooking the changes.
3. Choose The Right Change Agents
During the initial stages of change management, you may find the process as being unpredictable and challenging. Thus by identifying and choosing appropriate change agents can assist in ensuring your project runs smoothly and also support the process of change. Some of the major factors that you can consider in selecting these agents are:
• Must have the ability to prioritize important events and ensure the team members are engaged and moved forward.
• Ability to work effectively in various situations, since change management is prone to numerous surprises.
• Must have strong problem solving, collaboration and communication skills.
• Must be someone who regards the job as he/she owns it and does all that he/she can to achieve the best results.
4. Dedicate The Resources Required For Change Management
Any work that you are doing, will require enough funding and resources for change management to be effective. This means access to:
An appropriate amount of resources and funding
A change team which is collaborative, flexible, decisive and ambitious
To realize the advantages of change management, there must be someone who will be held responsible. If you have enough resources you can have excellent or good change management best practice. Ensure that you can offer your employees all the support that they need in terms of resources and money. Remember if your employees lack enough resources they will lose morale and turn back to the old ways of doing things. This can drag you back.
5. Use Structural Change Management Approach
By applying a defined and intentional approach in managing change will offer you the foundation that is required to stay within the project scope.
This will ensure that the team members spend their time on important activities and will offer them enough time to identify and address any issues which may exist in the project lifecycle. When describing this practice, the following must be addressed:
• Must be easy to apply at all phases of the project
• Must be easy to implement in various areas of change
6. Ensure Open And Frequent Communication
People who are involved in change management usually struggle with the misconception of believing that this process, only involves communications.
Although it involves other things apart from that, having effective communication can lead to successful changes.
• Some of the other factors which also important in effecting this practice are:
• Encouraging the use of various communication channels
Also when addressing this issue of communication, the following things are important:
• Long-term plan perspectives of the project
• The expectation of the project team
• Reasons why change is happening
• Important business drivers
• How the change will affect the welfare of the employees.
7. Keep Everyone Updated
For you to drive support and commitment towards the changes, all stakeholders must be continuously updated on every step that is taken. This can assist in eliminating the likelihood of employees feeling like they have been left behind and can build openness in any activity that is undertaken. That is why you should always keep all lines of communication open so that you can successfully execute the changes.
You can decide to use or create a new platform to ensure all people are updated. Some of the channels of communications that you can use are video conferences, hotlines, team meetings, face groups, one-on-one meetings, newsletters, messaging boards, and small group sessions.
8. You Must Be Patient
No change can happen within a single day. In case you wish the project team members to learn something new, you should give them time to learn the new strategies. You can start this by explaining to them the current strategies which are not working and share with them new change management best practice that can improve the progress of the project.
You should not expect them to adjust to new changes immediately. The team members should be able to know that there is a learning period and that you are open to suggestions or questions that they have.
9. Proper Timing
Usually, employees will try to resist changes that are sudden to them or when they are not given enough time to adjust. As the project manager, you should be able to share information about upcoming changes as early as possible. If it’s possible, you can start to roll out the changes in steps to avoid upsetting their minds.
You must set the proper timing that you are going to implement the changes. For instance, you should avoid implementing the changes during a holiday season, at the end of the year or the month of the year when the employees are under pressure to achieve their targets.
10. Motivate And Inspire Champions
The change management process can be smoother if you can inspire and motivate many stakeholders so that they can enable the employees to accept the changes. Thus you should identify them early and offer them a lot of training and engagement so that they can fasten the process of change.
Change can come in any size or shape. It can be the project leader who explains the team on the process of change. It can also be an employee who explains to other employees on the impact of the change. At times it can be a line manager who will be explaining to the employees how they will benefit from the changes.
However, you can also recruit frontline employees so that they can share the importance of effecting the changes; this can lower the degree of resistance. It can also serve as an easy mechanism of collecting feedback about how employees feel about the changes.
11. Make Sensible Changes
The change management process is not carried just or the sake of disrupting the normal way the organization is working. For the project team to accept the changes in the daily routines, the managers should aim is minimizing the changes. One of the ways you can achieve is by focusing on how different teams are likely to resist the changes so that you can put mitigation measures in places, without waiting for them to resist.
In case the employees are not able to see the importance of implementing the changes, then they are likely to resist them.
12. Listen To The Employees
There is a difference between waiting for organizational change to happen to you and being part of the team which is making organizational change. Members who are working in an organization that is constantly changing may feel isolated and may not be able to address any challenges which they face as they carry out their daily activities.
However, project members who are involved actively and get informed in time about the changes can easily realize the part they are supposed to play. In turn, they can work hard to adapt to the new changes.
13. Offer Comprehensive Training
To embrace your change management best practice appropriately, the end-users should first understand what they are supposed to have or do to support the entire process. One of the ways of supporting this process is through training.
You can start by developing training materials so that you can achieve the following:
• Reinforce the value of your project
• Training all employees on the new changes and the features that support them.
• Measure the ability of the people involved and establish the best training mode that you can use. Ensure the mode that you use is role focused and business process focused on the audience in the training to apply that they will learn in their roles.
14. Show Appreciation For Any Small Wins Achieved
After you have started the process of change management, you must keep celebrating any wins that you achieve in between. Most importantly, you should celebrate the wins with the individuals who are responsible for those wins. By showing appreciation, the morale of the employees can be changed positively. Also when you appreciate the efforts of the employees in implementing change, it can speed up the process and also make the transitions to be smooth.
You can also decide to offer all employees incentives which will encourage them to accept the changes. This can also show that the project leaders do appreciate their employees even during the challenging times of transition.
15. Shift The Burden Of Change
Although many people are usually quick in opposing changes, especially those which they view as being disruptive or undesirable, however, they are also quick in adapting to new environments. As an organization, you can take advantage of such a situation to come up with a new structure. The new structure will be complete with new values, workflows, and processes.
This kind of practice is the best suited for activities that involve transformative and radical changes in an organization. In this case, you will avoid burdening the upper management leader in enticing employees to accept the changes. Instead, you will shift the burden of change to the workers who may gradually find themselves that they have already adapted to the new changes. At this stage, the employees will decide to continue embracing the new changes or be left behind.
Organizational change is important for all companies which wish to remain competitive and also evolve. However, any change accrued to the organization can be very disruptive especially when there is no strategy of guiding the changes. As highlighted above the best effective change management best practice is the one that focus mainly on human behavior. This is because it’s the employees are usually affected a lot when changes are effected.
However, since everything is performance-based, you must measure, optimize and analyze until you perfect your changes. With the above guide, you can learn change management best practices which you can adopt as you implement the change management strategy in your project. Many project managers have adopted them today and they have been successful.