Implementing and Consolidating Change

“A good vision and strategy quickly deteriorates into real work.” 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...