Anyone who has been responsible for bringing consistent, long-term change amongst a group of people, will recognize the many frustrations that can occur alongside such projects.
At Elation, we work with businesses and individuals to improve performance, generate more revenue, win more business, and identify more clients. Everything we do is about asking people to do things differently and embrace change.
Often human beings find themselves feeling quite resistant to change – Poorly managed change can have a much more negative impact in a business than no change at all. To ensure that change is embedded and implemented effectively, we have created a surprisingly simple four-stage process. This process has been used to support over 400 of our clients to manage the difficulties that come with change.
We have all worked in or for a business where some great ideas have not seen impacts because the idea was simply not implemented effectively into the core of the business. Our four-stage process looks to overcome that challenge effectively.
At the end of the blog, you will see an embedded video with a lot more detail around the four-stage process and how it is used to manage change in your business.
4-step plan to implement change consists of:
How you share the nature of the change with your team is fundamental to how they take that on board the reason for change. You need to think very clearly about your process of communication, your methods of communication, and indeed the timeliness of your communication to ensure the foundations for change are firmly in place from the beginning.
Who you are telling, in what way and when, is absolutely key to how well changes are absorbed by your team. Communicating clearly the rational behind why the changes are being made and what impact they will have on the overall working environment is vital for the implementation of effective change.
Once the brief around the decision to make change has been communicated clearly at the strategic level, then you can move onto putting the plan into place to enable effective change.
Next, is ‘Plan’.
When asking individuals to work to a different set of outcomes to obtain a different set of results or to indeed implement a decision, this requires change.
Working collaboratively, with individuals to help them understand how change is going to affect their working practices will require the planning of behavioural change. Behavioural change is the process of getting the team or individuals to think – “to do this differently, what changes do I need to take into consideration to effectively assist in this change”. This is where communication of the plan is critical to your team understanding how the change is going to happen and when.
The third area is ‘reinforce’ – making sure that the overall business message of change is reinforced clearly and in an effective way.
A process should be in place to allow team members and individuals to ‘check-in’ to discuss how the change is impacting them, to allow feedback on how processes can be improved. This allows senior members of staff to identify where people are taking the action you wanted them to and can also praise or reassure any concerns. This also allows the opportunity to identify places where people aren’t taking the correct action required, allowing you to hold them accountable for this.
All too often, we see that a business is looking to implement change and it’s mentioned once in a meeting and nobody does anything about that change; all that remains is a lingering frustration and change with no support. Ideas need to be reinforced positively to ensure that you make the journey towards the desired objective.
Assess and Measure
The step is to assess and measure.
If I’ve decided to bring in a business change in my organization, I need to be confident that when that change is implemented, it’s actually bringing a positive set of results.
Managers need to establish what needs to be carried out to understand the impact of the change? This requires establishing KPI’s to effectively measure the impact of the change over a set period. By doing this you will gain some real tangible results which will reinforce the reason for making the change.
These four areas are fundamental to making sure that a business brings about change in a strategically managed way.
So many businesses tactically approach change. They have an idea, they communicate it very briefly, and they just hope and pray that it gets implemented in their business. This is not the effective way to make sure that your great decisions see lasting change. You need to apply proper strategic thinking to ensure that your change is implemented fantastically.