If you’ve ever tried to implement change within an organization, then you probably know that change management often fails. But what if there was a better way, a method through which change could be less stressful, and more accepted by those required to carry it out? And what if that method had the potential to make change successful while motivating and exciting employees about what’s to come?
Stepping Off in the Right Direction
The key to successful change management is not a mystery. It’s not a new invention. And it’s not a tool or resource that’s difficult to obtain. In fact, this key has been used to unlock positive interactions in everything from intimate relationships to large corporations, and it’s been around since the beginning of time.
It’s called communication.
You see, communication is an element that can break down barriers. It can address confusion, frustration, and fear before it gets out of hand. There are, however, some key points about communication that every change manager and top manager needs to know to ensure that communication is both effective and beneficial.
- Be transparent with employees about the change and why it’s happening
- Explain how the changes will affect the employees and give them a chance to voice their concerns
- Rather than discount or excuse those concerns, validate them. Communicate that you understand their hesitancy, fear, anger, or frustration
- Consult with and include employees in the decisionmaking and implementation process whenever possible
- Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements, especially when emotions are high, or when changes are necessary to address problems at the labor level
- Provide training, materials, or courses on new systems or procedures, and be available to answer questions
- Keep lines of communication open and ask for feedback as changes occur
- Address all concerns and complaints within a timely manner
Building a Framework for Change Management
Now that you know how to effectively communicate with employees during the change management process, it’s time to build a framework. Frequently referred to as SPPRS (pronounced Spur), it includes five key components:
1. Define the end goal and determine resources, including key influencers, that could help to implement change.
2. PREPARE: Rather than let your plan fizzle out by jumping straight to implementation, take time to rally support from the ground level, influencers, and Top Managers.
3. PILOT: This is a smallscale version of the change to be implemented. It reduces risks and focuses on small wins to justify the possible positive effect of a larger scale change.
4. ROLLOUT: This is when the large scale change is made, but it’s done through a milestone plan, one that still focuses on smaller changes to reach the longterm end goal rather than changing everything all at once.
5. SUSTAIN: Monitoring, maintenance, and tracking are essential in making sure that small changes are successful and ontrack. This is also the phase in which improvements and corrective actions are taken.
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