Once you have all of your plans in place, you are ready to implement the change. If you have gained the much-needed support for the change and developed the necessary plans to action the change, then you have laid a good foundation for success.
Your role now is to help the change gather momentum, overcome issues and obstacles, and drive the change forward until it is embedded within the organisation.
Generate short-term wins
As some change strategies can be quite lengthy, dividing your strategy into manageable short-term goals (i.e. short-term wins) can support you in gathering and maintaining momentum.
As people see that the change is working and delivering benefits, it adds credibility to your change effort and encourages people to get on board and participate in the change. It also undermines the credibility of resisters which helps manage further resistance.
- Generate wins as soon as possible - Success is a great motivator. Look for wins that you can generate early on in the change process to give people a taste of success.
- Pick goals that are achievable - Pick goals that are realistic and can be achieved even in the face of resistance. Early failures can hurt your change effort.
- Communicate and celebrate the wins - When you achieve a goal, ensure that it is communicated to everyone involved in the change, that it is celebrated, and that people's efforts are recognised and rewarded.
Monitor & adjust
It is impossible to predict every outcome of the change initiative in advance. In order to keep on top of issues that can hinder or derail your progress, it's important to monitor how the change is progressing, identify any areas for improvement and make the necessary changes to keep the change on track.
- Collect feedback - Feedback from the people implementing the change is essential for understanding what is working and what could be improved. Establish mechanisms for collecting regular feedback, like review meetings with managers or an employee suggestion box.
- Adjust - Identify the issues that are preventing people from adopting the change and/or are causing resistance to change and work with your team of change leaders to identify and implement solutions.
Resistance is an inevitable part of change and is an obstacle that needs to be overcome in order for change to be successful. Rather than being reactive and dealing with resistance when it comes up, you can proactively plan for resistance and develop strategies for managing it from the outset.
To prepare a resistance plan, you should:
- Identify areas of resistance - Refer to your stakeholder analysis and review which groups are likely to be impacted by the change. Review the key reasons for resistance and determine which groups falls into these categories.
- Determine the activities for managing resistance - Determine what activities you can engage in to counter potential resistance in these groups (e.g. presentations, feedback sessions, consultation etc.). If any of these activities are communication activities, you should also include them in your communication plan.
Don't let up!
One of the biggest mistakes people make during a change initiative is to call victory too early and stop driving the change forward.
Until the change has become "the way we do things around here" it's very easy for the change to lose momentum and for people to revert back to what they were doing before. Change is hard and it takes sustained effort to ensure success.