Many of the best plans for change stride confidently into the spotlight, create a momentary buzz, and then shuffle off-stage without leaving a lasting impression. Apart from endlessly repeating the change vision, how do we convert employee commitment to results? It takes hard work and persistence. Here are a few ideas for making change happen and stick.
- Make structures compatible with the vision. For instance, if you are moving to an integrated team approach to sales and service, establish cross-functional teams that have complementary skills and the common goal of seamless customer service.
- Align practices, policies, systems. This may mean changing things such as compensation systems, standardized procedures, communications policies, etc. so that the desired behaviours (such as collaboration) are rewarded.
- Provide the training employees need. This might mean developing skills in using new software or operating new equipment. It might also mean training people to work better in teams, or organizing simple team building programs so they can reach new levels of commitment and performance.
- Generate and publicize short-term wins. Break the big plan into smaller pieces so people can feel the exhilaration of success. And, share the stories with other employees who could use a little home-grown inspiration to help them over the hump.
- Deal with managers who undercut needed change. Sometimes people can actively resist change. Other times they can undercut the efforts by being too “soft” in their approach or allowing others to drag their heels. If coaching doesn’t address the issue, some people may need to be let go.
A common mistake in bringing about organizational change is declaring victory too soon. Act to consolidate the change into the culture of the organization by:
- Celebrating and building on the short term wins.
- Rewarding and promoting the individuals and teams who make gains in implementing the vision.
- Keeping the new vision and desired culture in mind when you hire new employees.
There is a lot to remember when you are bringing about a change initiative; many skills to practice and master. Ask us about the ExperienceChange© program if you want your key change agents to understand and become adept at bringing about lasting change. We are here to help.