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Tips for making change easier

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Top tips on how best to approach, manage and deal with changein your non profit organisation.

There is a great range of approaches and theories on change management, but it can still seem very hard to bring about successful change in organisations. As this section explores, there’s a big difference between initiating change and being asked to make a change - especially if we feel that we lose control or it is imposed.

The importance of managing change

It’s not enough to run an efficient, well managed organisation. You also need to be ready to adapt to changing circumstances. To do this you may need to:

  • restructure your team
  • change the way you work
  • respond to market changes or different customer/client needs.

A step-by-step approach to change

To bring about change, you'll need a plan. Here's a three-step framework. It helps you to set yourself up for success, consider all the elements and decide which things are important to you.

  • Step 1 Design it: getting the foundations in place.
  • Step 2 Enable it: ensuring you engage people and create the momentum for change
  • Step 3 Set it: make sure you reinforce the change and can measure success so that it is sustained.

Consider each of the nine elements and use this framework as a prompt to think about which parts make sense and fit the size of your project:


1. Design it2. Enable it3. Set it
Direction – have a clear vision anchored in reality and articulate why it’s needed. Explain – What’s happening, when, why and what’s in it for you. Keep doing it in different ways – once isn’t enough.  Success criteria – how will you measure it? Be clear about what success looks and feels like.
Drive – identify champions who are committed to the change – nothing will happen without energy. Engage – get people talking about their concerns, what it means and then how to help make it happen.  Publicise successes – celebrate them and let people know.
Demonstrate it – lead the way by showing the behaviours you want to see. Empower – once people are on board, give them space and scope to come up with ideas and make it happen. Standardise – once changes have happened. Focus on how to make them business as usual so that things don’t slip back.

Use real language when talking about change

If you want people to be on board with change, make it easy for them to understand what's happening.

You should keep your language plain and simple and avoid corporate jargon. Phrases like ‘continuous improvement’ don’t mean much to people. If you want them to stop doing the ‘bonkers’ stuff – say so.

It’s also important to speak from the heart. If you don’t believe what you are saying, others will know - your tone of voice and body language will give you away.

Connect with people when going through change

Good process, planning and communication all help. But if you don’t pay attention to how your people will react and respond to change, you can easily come unstuck. Follow these guidelines to stay on track:

  • keep talking to people and give them the chance to air their concerns – they are not being difficult, they just need to make sense of what's happening before they can support it
  • ask yourself what might they feel - what impact will the change have on them? How might they react? Remember that different people will respond differently
  • use this information to help you communicate and talk with people
  • remember that people respond to how they are treated – if you give them a sense that they matter (despite the tough things that may be happening) you could change the atmosphere and establish stronger support for change.

Project planning change

Implementing change needs careful project planning. Project planning change is about detailing what you are going to do. At this stage you need to think about what is going to happen when, what tasks need to happen first and which ones can wait until later.

There are two tools which are great for scheduling the timing of activities.

A  Gantt Chart is a well known approach and good for timetabling more straightforward projects. More complex projects, where you have many different activities use a Critical Path Analysis  to help schedule the timing of different activities.

Managing staff through difficult times e-learning course 

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Page last edited Sep 11, 2017

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