Practices that Short-change Your Change Management Effort

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Modifying the status quo involves pulling people from their comfort zone and asking them to go about their routine in a new way. The success in implementing change depends on how well the change is rolled out. Whether you are enhancing a billing process or embarking on a major transformation initiative, savvy change management determines how quickly the transition takes shape.

Companies are cognizant of the essence of change management. Planning for change management is incorporated into the overall project plan. Yet, many find themselves short-changed by these four practices:

1.       Information dump

Presenting the initiative’s rationale and change approach in a convincing and logical manner germinates the foundation for change alignment. Unfortunately, many adopt a quick and impersonal information dump approach. This approach projects an authoritative message that spurs resistance. It also affects how the proposed change would be perceived. Skepticism stalls buy-in. The one-sided communication approach doesn’t provide the opportunity for a dialogue that fosters a genuine understanding of the need and garners support. A two-way dialogue is needed to address concerns, clearing misconstrued rumours that stifle the initiative.

2.       Dodging resistance

Resistance to change is inevitable. Avoidance and half-hearted attempts to ameliorate resistance leave the unconvinced excuses to drum up alliances and put a damper on the project. Resistance wouldn’t disappear unless you address it. By tackling the root causes of resistance, it leaves little room for amplifying concerns into disconcerting issues that would consume tremendous effort to remove. Often, select individuals might be the force behind the resistance. You need to take decisive actions early. Otherwise, these individuals could undermine the initiative. Effective handling of resistance is a necessity to propel change forward.

3.       Poor coordination

Poor planning kills momentum. Its effect is manifest through confusion and resistance. For initiatives that affect stakeholders in different geographic locations and multiple business units, consistent messaging and approach must be deployed. The interdependency of the upstream and downstream work requires a succinct timeline to minimize impacts such as delays and rework. It also takes coherent effort to coordinate with other projects that might affect the same areas. It is important to look at the change impacts from the stakeholder’s perspective in order to execute a smooth rollout.

4.       Inadequate stakeholder engagement

Stakeholders include people who are impacted by the initiative. They include the project sponsor, the workers, external customers, and shareholders. These folks need to be engaged throughout the project to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed. The project sponsor is kept abreast of the project issues and progress. The workers are represented by the subject matter experts on the project team. Often, we neglect to involve external customers and shareholders. The oversight could result in red flags that pop up late in the project, or even after the change has been rolled out. The resulting actions necessary to rectify the situation would be costly.

It is counter-productive to invest resources to improve the business while not managing change with the same degree of scrutiny. Paying attention to these four areas will place your initiative in a positive light. Things would move along more smoothly for accelerated results.

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