Change Management is the process that is chosen when an organization embarks on a new initiative. Before a Change Management Process is launched there should be sufficient analysis to determine the direction, the purpose, and the desired outcomes. In addition, the change agents should evaluate whether there is sufficient time, energy, resources, and commitment to the desired outcome. If there is not adequate buy-in to the need for the change, it should be postponed until a time when the climate is ready, willing, and able (RWA) to successfully effect the change.
When the due diligence has been performed and it has been determined that the timing is right, the people are on board, and the resources are available to guarantee success then it is time to move forward. When embarking on the change journey, it is critical to choose change agents who are qualified, competent, and experienced in ushering effective transitions in organizations. The choice is made based on certain criteria. Those criteria are both objective and subjective and should be used as a checklist prior to proceeding. Recommendations for other clients, colleagues, and firms who have undergone similar processes are a good initial step. Conducting interviews in which the change agents are expected to present case histories that they have engineered directly is a prudent second step.
The third step is to ask the tough questions:
1. What were the conditions when you started the project? 2. What resistance did you encounter? 3. How did you deal with it? 4. What percentage of the organization bought into the change? 5. What did you do to get the rest of the organization to buy in? 6. Did the project take longer or shorter than you originally estimated? (how much?) 7. What other challenges did you encounter? 8. Was the project successful? 9. How do you measure your success? 10. What was your biggest failure and why?
Depending on how the change agents respond to these questions, and how you feel about your ability to work closely with them, i.e. rapport, connection, effective communication skills, ability to receive feedback non-defensively, service-oriented, flexibility, excellence, integrity, availability, and price.
Ability to receive feedback
Effective communication skills
When you have narrowed the field and you are between the final two change agents, ask both organizations to do the following:
1. Map out their plan for the change management Process including time, resources, and funds 2. Ask what could possibly go wrong with their plan 3. Ask what their contingency plan is 4. Ask what they are willing to do to solve the situation if things do not go according to their plan 5. Ask if they will stick to the price they have quoted regardless of circumstances?
Based on the manner in which the change agents respond to your final set of questions, you should be able to determine the right match of change agent for your organization. Your change agent is critically important to the success of the process and you want this collaboration to be a match from the onset. There will be wrinkles, challenges, and glitches along the way, but if the outcome is worth the effort, then when the going gets tough, hang in there…don’t lose faith. In every change process there is a moment when the executive team is tempted to abort. The process seems too difficult, too long, too much to endure for the employees, and too costly.
This is standard for any transformational change process. The phases of the process are:
If you reflect on any successful transformational change process that you have experienced, these phases have been present. If you abort at step three, four, or five, you will never see the significant transformation in steps nine and ten.
One of the most important steps in the process is the final evaluation of the process. This is where you want to get the Core Team together and assess what was learned, what was gained, and what insights you want to apply to future projects.
Change Management is a methodical, strategic, and effective way to design and engineer organizational change. When conducted properly it is the most efficient and practical way to transition an organization to embrace desired initiatives.