Top Five Tips for Effective Change Management

Change management planning can quickly be derailed without a solid communication plan. On the other hand, a strong communication plan can help make up for unforeseen circumstances or an imperfect change management strategy.

1. Communicate

In order for people to get on board with change, they first need to understand why adjustments are necessary. Explain the problem (the reason change is needed) and don’t be afraid to give them time to digest. Don’t communicate potential solutions right away. Unify your employees in their understanding that something needs to be done.

By presenting a solution before the need is understood, people will use up their energy evaluating potential solutions instead of being focused on the problem. The mindset needs to be: “What are we going to do about this?” rather than “shouldn’t we do something else instead?”

2. Be transparent

One of the best ways to build trust in your organization is through transparency. There are times when information needs to be managed carefully, but only do so when necessary. Show both good and bad, not just the information that is easy to share. In a transparent culture, employees are far more likely to trust you when difficult decisions have to be made.

3. Own it

Appeal to the sense of ownership in your employees. If your people own the problem, they will be motivated for change. Ask yourself: “How does the problem impact our people?”

4. Seek opinion leaders

Who are the most outspoken people in your organization? Who are your emotive people? Who are your natural leaders that others gravitate towards? These are the opinion leaders and the ones you need on board.

Involve these people in the process and have them help evaluate options for a solution. This may take place through organized committees, focus groups, or one-on-one. By practicing collaborative leadership and developing solutions with the direct involvement of your opinion leaders, these individuals will become your champions for change.

5. Consider to the other side

Put yourself in their shoes. Consider “What’s in it for Me (WIIFM)” from their perspective. What do your employees care about? How does this affect them personally? Use intentional messaging to communicate in a way that demonstrates a clear understanding of your employees’ perspective.

Communication is key in a successful organization. Strong leaders know the importance of balancing the human capital with the goals and objectives of the organization. It requires intentional thought, effort and a solid understanding of your organization’s culture and environment.

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