Mid to long range strategies will require some level of change(s), and ineffectively managing this change is the reason why 70% of business strategies fail. Why? Because leaders find it difficult to manage the change that bridges the gap between strategy creation and implementation along with addressing the needs and conflicts of impacted employees and change project teams.
To successfully initiate any change, building the business case and rationale for ‘why’ change needs to happen is the critical first step in bridging that gap. In fact, organisations who do this well are more effective in managing change and are 3.5 times more likely to outperform industry peers.
As a change management consultancy, we advise businesses across sectors on initiating and managing a wide range of change initiatives. Irrespective of the nature of the change, we find addressing 3 initial areas will support the development of an effective change management plan:
Leaders and change champions need to quickly and regularly communicate the case for a change by clearly outlining answers to 3 critical questions :
Initial interest and awareness does not translate into ongoing engagement therefore the change plan needs to address regular communications focused on these questions. An effective way of addressing these key points is to develop an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An EVP defines the ‘deal’ for change and how it’ll benefit employees and business as a whole. Companies who do this effectively are proven to be 3 times more likely to be successful as they focus on the behaviours that drive progression (rather than programme cost).
Our work as a change management consultancy has found change management plans that rely on town hall meetings and online communications as prime mechanisms for change, don’t effectively address concerns or sufficiently involve people when the risk to dis-engagement is high . To overcome this, our research and work in multiple change projects has highlighted the need to recognise initial emotional responses to change announcements and plan to involve people early through pre-agreed mechanisms.
Table 1 provides a simple summary of how the nature of the change influences communication and engagement owners and engagement mechanisms:
Professor Nielsen, Norwich Business School
In our experience as a change management consultancy, change initiatives and change management plans need to be led from the top. To do this effectively, we recommend generating a ‘General Manager Mandate’ to:
By addressing these 3 fundamental areas, leaders can create a case for change and align engagement mechanisms which quickly builds an understanding and acceptance.
You are now ready to initiate the next step of your change management plan – building change readiness and activating your initiative.