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Five steps to successful change

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Need an instant guide to change? Here is a quick summary of essential change management strategy in five steps that will keep you on the right track.

1) Acknowledge and understand the need for change

The first step in any change is acknowledging and understanding the need for change. It’s tempting to see that something needs fixing and quickly jump to a solution. Resist the temptation and instead spend time understanding the situation and the change.  Involve a range of people in developing a shared understanding of the situation. You can then be sure that your solution addresses the complexity of the problem.

Start by understanding why the change needs to happen.  Responding to Social Change highlights the drivers in the external environment impacting on an organisation and which are likely to spark the need for change.

Consider how these drivers are going to affect the organisation.  Take a look at tools and techniques, where there are frameworks to facilitate a stakeholder analysis and understanding the change.     

A cause and influence diagram is one way of mapping the complexity of a change situation, described under tools and techniques.

2) Communicate the need and involve people in developing the change

Once you and those working with you have explored the situation and fully understand what needs to happen, you will then need to communicate this. The communicating to stakeholders framework gives an approach to considering what is important to others, what motivates them and how this change will affect them.

Involving beneficiaries has particular challenges and significant time and resources need to be dedicated to ensure this is carried out effectively.

This stage can be frustrating because many of they questions they ask you will have already considered back at the beginning of Stage 1. However it is is important to give communication and involvement the time it needs. Rush the communication aspect of managing change and people's commitment will be weakened.  This could cause real problems later down the line.

3) Develop change plans

Having clearly communicated and developed a shared understanding of the change, you need to detail the change plans. The first aspect of developing a change plan is to detail where you want to be. Be exact. What precisely will be different? What are the objectives you want to achieve? What will be the performance measures?  Specify the change you want to see and understand the change.

Take a look at the project planning framework to help schedule activities.

4) Implement change plans

This is the change itself. Make sure everyone knows what has to happen and what their role it. Provide the support and watch out for stress. Maintain some routine as far as is possible. Take a look at team/individual change to understand how people react to change and how you can manage these reactions.

5) Evaluate progress and celebrate success

As soon as you can start identifying what is going well, make sure people are thanked appropriately, their hard work acknowledged and successes celebrated.


Page last edited Jul 25, 2017

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