Ch Ch Ch Changes (not the Bowie kind)Posted: July 15, 2011
Show of hands – how many of you are good with change? I don’t mean pennies, nickels and dimes but workplace and personal changes. I have known people who are great with change and others who are scared of it. Change can prompt some emotional responses from people. Is change good? Yes, no, maybe. Whatever your answer is the fact remains that change will happen – at work, at home or anywhere else. Here are some simple steps and ideas to help your company – or you – prepare for and implement change.
Hopefully, your company has some processes or practices in place to navigate change. If not, these are great to have in place before changes come about and need to be put in place. Be sure to know the core objectives and the business strategy of the company so the change initiatives will be in alignment. These procedures are not a one size fits all and might require input from various areas to foster cohesion for the company. In addition to identifying the change procedures, determine how the change will be measured, what will be needed and
who will perform the change movement tasks. Designated change teams are a great idea, even if the members rotate on and off the team as needed. Also, come up with an escape plan for when change falters or fails.
Okay, it’s time to figure out what is going on. See what the process or situation was and what it needs to be. Taking an objective look at what needs to change can help release some of the emotion from the equation. Change can come from many places, internally and externally, and in different forms and degrees. Take time to analyze and look at all facets of the change. Sometimes minutia can create big challenges during the implementation phase.
Next, ask “How do we get there?” and put together a specific time line, plan or any other mechanism to move through the change and implement it. Sometimes these changes are simple to implement and might cause little or no disruption to the operation. Other times, the momentum of the change can lead to great waves. Important to this step is taking the time to calculate the impact and come up with potential solutions before the situations arise. Remember the adage – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be ready for the unexpected.
Now, implement the change and take it in stride. There should be deadlines and target dates for the implementation progression. However allow for acceptance and integration of the change by the team(s) affected. Not everyone will be on your time line unless your time line allows for this important step. Some training might need to given on how to accept the more significant changes and be sure to allocate the appropriate time for this. Pushing a change works best when all parties adopt it and are on board.
Last but not least – evaluate and tweak the change as necessary. Hopefully measurements were identified at the beginning so the outcome can be weighed against them. If the change went through without a hitch, great! If not, this is where you look at what might need adjustment so the change can meet expectations. Documenting the change and its process is important as this step including noting what worked and what might need to be altered for future situations.
Interestingly enough, I used to be one who had challenges with change. I noticed the development need and worked on it, now I am fine with change and see the value in implementing processes to help guide change in the workplace and my personal life. I now regularly look at change as an adventure full of new knowledge conquests and building my skill sets. Today, change is good for me. Change is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere so get used to it!
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