Over my years of life I have figured out one thing for sure, the things we do in life don’t change overnight; it takes years to build up and only minutes to break down. Building new routines to accomplish best practices for change management in your life can take time as well–it may be hard at first because you’re unfamiliar with your process or exactly where there are gaps in between steps but if given enough support from others who know what they’re doing then success will come quickly
-with no work whatsoever!
If there is change on the horizon at your organization, now is the time to brush up and refine your approach to change management. To help you have your best practices for change management, here are three change management practices to follow:
1. Communicate Early
The more time you have to prepare for a change, the less it will be disruptive. If you follow this best practice as well as possible, you can find ways to generate enthusiasm and to overcome any objections that might come up. Communicating early helps people feel confident about change. They will be less nervous when they know what is going to happen.
Clearly outline the following information to ensure that every individual is as prepared as possible:
- The benefit the change will have on the organization
- When the change will occur
- The reason for the change
- Who in the organization will be impacted
- The new behavior patterns you expect to see
- What is expected from each individual
- The person or people individuals can go to with questions and feedback
Provide as much detail as you can, in an organized manner, to set the stage for making the transition as smooth as possible.
2. Communicate often
If you want people to change their behavior, you need to tell them. If they have been doing something for a long time, it will take more than one day or an email. You need to keep talking about it until they understand that something needs to change.
Some ways to communicate often are:
- Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly status updates, depending on the type and length of the initiative
- Ongoing training events with retention activities in between
- “Town Hall” style meetings for question and answer sessions
3. Communicate well
Change management is a process that requires more than just delivering information and hoping it sticks. The best change leaders know that communication is a two-way street; it includes receiving feedback and answering questions. By allowing enough time for individuals to process the new information and providing consistent updates, you not only give them a chance to absorb the changes to come, but you also have the opportunity to make the process better.
Use communication tools that are designed to encourage free flowing conversation and feedback:
- Focus groups: Bring together groups of 5-7 people from different levels and functions to capture how they feel about the changes and new processes.
- Surveys: Provide individuals with an opportunity to give honest feedback through an online survey. They may share ideas or feelings which they aren’t comfortable coming forward with otherwise.
- One-on-one meetings: Take time to meet with individuals in an informal setting to ask insightful questions about how they feel the change is working.
When people ask questions they may bring new problems. This might let you fix the problems before they happen. If you don’t listen to what they say, then you will not be able to help that person, and then the problem will happen again.
Do you see a trend starting to emerge here? Communication is the linchpin in the list of change management best practices. Do it early, do it often, and do it well to successfully lead change at your organization.