Essential Elements of a change management strategy

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“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.” – Niccolo Machiavelli.

The constant struggle to stay ahead of the competition means that all businesses must constantly change with the times in order to keep up with the competition, adapt to evolving customer demand and keep up with digital trends.

Often, new technology is seen as a solution to these issues, for instance the rise of contactless payment cards on the London Underground. This is an example of a company adapting to changing times by improving process and technology.

This is all well and good and in this case has been heralded as a great success, with usage growing month on month, but what about other companies who roll out a major change without focusing on the most important aspect of change – the people?

It is vitally important that during a big change, management effectively communicate with and engage people in order for change to spread to all corners of the business and for change to stick. Lasting change will not happen without a well planned and executed change management strategy.

This change strategy must be focused and driven, and as we all know, change is never easy. If a company is serious about making the changes necessary to thrive and evolve, it needs to live and breathe the change and make sure its people are getting behind this vision.

We have established that delivering a technology change requires a change management strategy in order for change to stick, but where to start? Here are a few tips to start you off:

Leadership

Define the organisational and leadership structure that needs to be in place in order to support your strategy. Is the leadership effectively communicating the central vision behind the change strategy and why it is necessary?

Capability
Decide which skills and capabilities that are needed in the new post-change environment in order to ensure success and adoption. Establish where the current gaps in capability that will need to be addressed are. Assess your workforce’s projected use of the new technology. Not all employees will use the technology in the same way and there will be different levels and areas of need.

Culture
What does the desired culture look and feel like and how will you embed it? How does this compare with the current and what needs to evolve?

Engagement
It is vital that you engage people in the change. How are you going to communicate your change programme and its vision to get everybody on board?

Method
Think about the structure or methods that need to be in place to manage and deliver the change programme. There are lots of change management models out there, but which one is best suited to your organisation?

These are some initial points that may prompt thought about how important the people agenda of managing change is.

As a Consultant I often work with organisations that are doing some of these areas really well but missing out on some of the other elements that are just as important. To truly embed change you need to make sure you have assessed your change readiness in all areas. At Afiniti we align this to our 6Lever™ Model which assesses Leadership, Drivers, Culture, Method, Competency and Engagement. To benchmark your own company, please complete our change readiness assessment.

Have you had experience in managing a substantial business change programme? I’d welcome your views and input.