Change Management Hints and Tips

Organisations Change – They Have To In Order To Survive

Change is on the agenda for every company.

To stay competitive in today’s economy, organisations must be able to respond quickly to their markets and customers. Being able to adapt and change well is therefore critical to allow companies to continue to survive and thrive.

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

Process Changes

While technical and process changes are no easy feat, it is often the ‘people’ side of the change that managers find most difficult. It is true that change can be very tricky for many people within organisations. However, this does not mean that it cannot be managed with skill and care.

Below are some hints and tips on change management which will keep you ahead of the curve and help you to manage people through change more effectively.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

10 Change Management Hints and Tips

1. Identify How You Handle Change

Everyone handles change differently. Some people are naturally excited by novelty and are keen to engage while other people are more reluctant and comfortable with the status quo.

It is good to understand where you fall on this spectrum and how this might affect the way you implement a change management plan. It is also good to understand this as you will have empathy for people who are not like you.

For example, if you are an ‘early adopter’ try not to be impatient with those who aren’t. Conversely, if you tend to find change somewhat tricky, try not to feel intimidated by those who are charging ahead.

Instead, use your resistance positively to ask the right questions of stakeholders and to ensure the implications and details of change are being taken care of along the change journey.

Devise and Manage a Change Programme so That it Sticks!

2. Identify How Those Around You Handle Change

Once you are aware of your own change biases, it is time to build your awareness of how others manage change. Because people respond to change differently, it’s worth taking the time to understand and capture how others manage change.

Instead of dismissing people’s concerns and jollying them along to get on board, create real opportunities for quality interaction with the people who will be affected by the change before implementing it.

Afterwards, you can take note and map people’s positions on a grid according to the conversations you have had.

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

3. Let People Have Their Feelings

When the direction of change is decided and implementation is underway, there is sometimes an expectation held (by those that are fully on-board with change) that everyone else is equally enthusiastic.

The truth is not everyone will be and it’s vital that people understand that how they feel is OK.

In fact, the way that people feel may change frequently over time; even flipping back and forward through emotions they have experienced previously. Change affects us at an emotional level and is quite normal.

If you give people space to have their emotions and normalise them as part of the process, they are far more likely to engage with what’s being planned.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

4. Give Equal Importance to the Technical and People Side of the Change

Change is often imposed by those who haven’t fully considered the impact that imposition will have on staff, business processes and sometimes even the bottom-line.

Depending on who is driving the change, the emphasis of what is “important” will change.

For example, I know of one instance where the change management plan was driven from the Director of Finance all with good intentions, but on reflection, they were usually too busy looking at cost implications, rather than spending any time on how their people are going to be affected in real terms.

With an imposed change, you really do need to be prepared for negative fall-out if you don’t maintain a balanced view of change.

Devise and Manage a Change Programme so That it Sticks!

5. Have a Plan for Dealing With Resistance

It’s astonishing how often big changes are imposed and those doing the imposing are surprised at the depth of feelings this generates. Even more shocking is that there is no defined plan to deal with the resistance the change management process creates.

You must have a plan to inform, involve and support every single person involved in the change.

Dealing with resistance is also a good way of refining your change plan as you go; as some resistance can be nested in business realities that you are unaware of.

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

6. Keep everyone in the loop

Change is born from and creates uncertainty. When people don’t have information, their uncertainty increases and so can their resistance. Not only that, if you don’t tell people what’s going on, they will make assumptions and be vulnerable to rumours and gossip. Therefore, it’s essential to keep people informed. Even when things go quiet and nothing appears to be happening, let them know it’s all gone quiet and nothing is happening.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

7. Become An Active Chooser

You don’t have to like everything about the changes that are happening, but you can choose two or three that you do.

Help others find one good thing as well. Remember, the brain chemistry responds to positivity and negativity and feeds on whatever you’ve given it to chew on.

Ensure you’re giving your brain a healthy diet!

Devise and Manage a Change Programme so That it Sticks!

8. Feed Upwards - Without Moaning

In the same way, as it is crucial that you keep the people around you informed, it is equally crucial to feed information upwards about the impact the change is having within the organisation.

This isn’t about telling those further up the hierarchy about everything that’s wrong (if, indeed, there are things that are wrong); rather, it’s about making sure that the communication remains two-way.

If there are concerns, these need to be shared in a productive way so that senior and key stakeholders can be proactive about problem-solving.

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

9. Decide Where to Put Your Energy

Change can be emotionally and intellectually exhausting. You have only so much time and energy in a day, so you need to determine where best to focus your efforts.

In order for any change to be successful people have to be committed to making it happen; without commitment, it will fail.

Balancing your personal resources with your commitment to managing change will ensure you don’t get depleted or disheartened.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

10. Accept That it Will All Change Again and Embrace It

A wise man once said that “change is the only constant in life”. As your company responds to the market your business serves, another change initiative is likely to come about that impacts upon your change initiative, often just as it all seems to be working smoothly.

You need to be prepared not only that things will change but also that people’s feelings (including yours) will change as well.

I hope these tips on change management are useful and that you can use them successfully while managing change in the workplace.

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