Positive Organizational Change: Good Luck or Good Management?

Tuesday, March 20 2012

Change is not optional.  What you can choose is whether to sit on the sidelines and hope for good luck or to act proactively and employ effective change management strategies.

Be clear about why change is needed.

Do a SWOT analysis of your organization’s internal and external situation. Identify key strengths and greatest weaknesses; as well as the most powerful external opportunities and threats. Your strengths are necessary to capture opportunities and overcome weaknesses in order to counter threats.

Understand and attend to resistance.

People fear the unknown. They worry about how change will impact their personal lives. They are susceptible to peer pressure and negativity.

Ensure the change will be consistent with your mission and values.

Mission articulates purpose and values drive how your organization acts. If you don’t have a mission, making one is it the first step of change.

Create a clear, powerful vision.

How will the organization look in the future? Describe its position in the marketplace.

Set long-term objectives and short-term goals.

Translate the vision into specific outcomes with one-year measurable goals for each. Cascade these goals throughout the organization. Determine the contribution each major division, department and team will make to the vision. Ensure every goal at every level has a written plan of execution.

Help everyone contribute.

Get all employees involved to help design the change and make it happen. Describe the contribution each person’s job makes to the mission. Help everyone write goals and plans for their individual contribution.

Make all results transparent.

Establish how the core elements of success at every level of the organization will be measured. Regular reporting about the performance of the organization and of individuals will help everyone be aware of results as they unfold.

Identify and respond to shortfalls.

Improve performance through coaching. Help individuals to identify and accept how organizational systems and their personal actions contributed to a shortfall. Then they can find an effective way to achieve their goals.

Celebrate success.

Ensure managers thank people personally in sincere, timely, and specific ways. Celebrate successes, both small and large, across the organization.

Make change an everyday experience.

Identify and implement best practices. Incorporate continuous improvement as an organizational value. Make these the standard of your workplace.

In the twenty-first century the pace of change will accelerate. Rather than trusting to luck or managing day-to-day, plan to manage the change process. It will have a far greater positive impact on your organization.