This is the final installment in our 3-part series on effective change management. Later this week, we’ll release the complete white paper with all parts in one piece.
PART 3: COMMIT, DON’T QUIT
One cannot be successful at something on which they don’t take action. Action gets results, so it’s just a matter of steering your actions in the right direction and staying the course.
Like the rest of humanity, your employees are creatures of habit, and because of that, you can’t expect change to be welcomed with open arms. No matter how in tune you are to your team’s state of mind, change and the hard work that comes with it will be met with resistance.
That being said, set your direction, and remain committed to the plan and to making the transition necessary to hit the goals you were after in the first place. When it’s time for implementation, consider the following tactics to get the team on board and as excited as you are.
Fostering an inclusive work environment is crucial to overcoming the challenges that come with learning a new system, and it starts all the way at the top. Management and their teams should feel as if they are in this together and can rely on one another to help get all parties up to speed. To do this effectively, provide your management team with delegated training and support to build confidence in your initiatives.
Champions for the Cause
You’re going to need some champions on your side. Leverage key staff members and department leads by convincing them of the benefits brought on by the new system. When they see how it benefits them, they will work hard on your behalf to convince the folks in their respective departments to get on board with it as well.
We just dedicated a whole section to having a plan, but it’s important to reiterate the impact a strong strategy has on the success of a change initiative. Consider all the obstacles you might encounter, and plan ahead for how those will be handled swiftly, and ideally, how you can avoid them altogether. Too many bumps in the road during a delicate transition period will quickly wear down the confidence your team has in both the process and the finished product.
In order to deal with concerns, conflicts, and misunderstandings in the most productive way, keep your eyes and ears open. Listen to your people. They will undoubtedly have something to say, and they want to feel that their words are valued. Their feedback is necessary to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the training you’re putting them through. Having this transparent feedback loop will enable you and the vendor to address issues quickly and keep your implementation timeline on track.
Incentives — AKA What’s In It For Me?
This will be the second question employees ask when they’re notified of coming change, with the first being, “Why?” The “why” is easier to answer because it’s the reasoning behind making the change to begin with. In reality though, that’s not really your staff’s primary concern. They want to know what it is about this new system that’s going to benefit them. If they have to change the way they do things, what’s in it for them?
For everyone to commit to making the transition, you have to make sure each employee knows what they stand to gain from it. If you can paint a picture for them that demonstrates the ways in which this will make their job easier, faster, more lucrative, etc., you’ll be setting yourself up for success with adoption.
And along the way, don’t forget to have fun and recognize the folks who are out there embracing change and crushing it. Pizza parties and ice cream go a long way, but there’s even opportunity here for promotions and new titles as well.
Every business and technology is different. There’s no one right, simple answer for how to manage change across the board, but it does boil down to three main objectives to keep in mind. Know what you’re getting yourself, your business, and your employees into — before you get into it; plan strategically in order to handle the change that’s coming; and commit to the plan you’ve made and the goals you’ve set, with the support of your team beside you.