Making Changes the Right Way

By Randa A. Wilbur

Is Your Organization Ready?

Here are some questions to determine if your company or non-profit is ready for a large-scale change initiative:

  • Have the folks at the top bought off on it?
  • Are senior managers willing to continually convey the change message?
  • Are they willing to support the change through their own behavior?
  • Below senior management, who are the operational leaders who need to be sold and take an active role in driving the change in their departments?
  • Are current organizational policies, practices, accountability, feedback mechanisms, etc. in line with the change? If not, they could kill the effort.
  • What barriers are in the way? Are there plans to overcome those barriers?
  • Are you being realistic about how long the change process will take?

Communicate the Change

Some things to keep in mind when communicating a change initiative to employees:

  • People need to understand why the organization is changing and need to be sold on the benefits.
  • You should decide beforehand on the communication vehicles. Communication should be frequent and ongoing.
  • Training should be provided, if necessary.
  • If people will lose their jobs, this needs to be communicated to them openly and honestly.
  • Rather than slashing jobs, you may want to work with top employees to reengineer their jobs.

Be Ready to Do Some Tweaking

The change management team needs to have its finger on the pulse of what is and isn't working so they can intervene where appropriate.

Many companies try to take as much cost as possible out of their change initiatives by developing and conducting their own training, or by short circuiting many of the items mentioned over the last couple days' tips.

Keep on top of what's going on, constantly referring back to your original goals and commitments. Be willing to make modifications where necessary, without compromising standards.

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