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Articles - Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully (Part 2)

Step 5: Remove Obstacles

If you follow these steps and reach this point in the change process, you’ve been talking about your vision and building buy-in from all levels of the organization. Hopefully, your staff wants to get busy and achieve the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

 

 

 

What you can do:

Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.

Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.

Recognize and reward people for making change happen.

Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see what’s needed.

Take action to quickly remove barriers (human or otherwise).

Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins

Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change), you’ll want to have some “quick wins” that your staff can see. Without this, critics and negative thinkers might hurt your progress.

Create short-term targets – not just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each “win” that you produce can further motivate the entire staff.

What you can do:

Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any strong critics of the change.

Don’t choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.

Thoroughly analyze the potential pros and cons of your targets. If you don’t succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.

Reward the people who help you meet the targets.

Step 7: Build on the Change

Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. Launching one new product using a new system is great. But if you can launch 10 products, that means the new system is working. To reach that 10th success, you need to keep looking for improvements. Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve.

What you can do:

After every win, analyze what went right, and what needs improving.

Set goals to continue building on the momentum you’ve achieved.

Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change coalition.

Step 8: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

Finally, to make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organization. Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work. Make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organization’s culture. It’s also important that your company’s leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you might end up back where you started.

What you can do:

Talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear.

Include the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff.

Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten.

Key Points

You have to work hard to change an organization successfully. When you plan carefully and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you’ll improve the chances of success. If you’re too impatient, and if you expect too many results too soon, your plans for change are more likely to fail.

Create a sense of urgency, recruit powerful change leaders, build a vision and effectively communicate it, remove obstacles, and build on your momentum. If you do these things, you can help make the change part of your organizational culture. That’s when you can declare a true victory. then sit back and enjoy the change that you envisioned so long ago.