Many of us were forced into change in 2020 on many levels. As we ease out of pandemic life, we are now able to look critically at our organizations and the future. Change is never easy, but if we keep a few principles in mind as we navigate our new paths in our organizations, we are setting ourselves up for a much better, brighter future.
When navigating change, there are a few things to remember:
- Plan the change
This may seem obvious, but to be effective in creating change, you need to start with a great plan. Gallup explains in an article about change management principles that leaders are responsible for owning change and instilling that ownership in others. When you are clear about your vision and how to get there, your team will better understand how to help the organization reach its desired destination. Think through your timeline, why this change is essential to your organization’s mission, and what milestones you will set to help measure your progress. Putting in the time up front to write out a specific plan with clear goals is essential to good change management.
- Support your team
Your team is your best asset. They know the organization inside and out and they are the people helping you carry out your mission on a day-to-day basis. Change often requires shifting roles and tasks, which can cause tension. Employees may be asked to step up in new ways, and some may resist the change as a whole. Make sure your team knows you are available for questions and show them why this change is a good thing.
- Communicate well and often
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Mind Tools explains that communication can make or break your change plan. The site recommends using the ADKAR Change Management Model to guide your change communication:
- Awareness (state your need for change)
- Desire (why you want to participate in it)
- Knowledge (of how the change will occur)
- Ability (how your organization will achieve change)
- Reinforcement (how you will sustain progress)
As a leader, you need to own the change you are making. Ensuring everyone is on the same page is a big task, but one you must achieve
- Protect the culture
Culture is the heart of any organization, so it is important to make sure that it does not get lost in the process of change. Strategy + Business explains that culture should be treated just like any other facet of change. Does the culture need a makeover? How can you transfer the positive aspects of culture? Be explicit in your communication about what you want to keep around when you reach your goal. Your culture may be great, so lean into that during trying times. If your culture needs improvement, explain what you want it to look like and how your team can help you build that new culture. Again, your team is your best asset. So, make sure you are helping create the best possible environment for them.
There are many, many things you have to keep in mind when you are creating change. It will more than likely be overwhelming and chaotic, but by keeping these few things at the top of your long to-do list, you are ensuring that your organization is set up well for your new future.