“5 Questions You Always Wanted to Get Answered about Change Management”
By: Mark Hordes, Change Management Coach, Speaker, Best Selling Business Author Consultant and Seminar Leader
Q1. What is your definition of Change Management? Isn’t it just about Communications and Training?
A1. Change Management is a process by which you engage the workforce in involvement in the change as well as identify where the resistance is, reduce it, and increase the ownership and buy-in of the change process with support of the leadership. Communications and training are enablers of change.
Q2. What has been the biggest challenge companies face in implementing the management of change? And how do successful companies overcome this issue?
A2. Resistance to change always shows up whenever you ask people to do something they have not done before. Organizations that think ahead will deploy a short readiness for change survey and run a few focus groups to identify where potential resistance is. Quite often two issues usually rise to the top, “What is in it for me to go along with the change?” and “What will not change?”
Both of these issues require good communications before any change effort is begun. Several companies have set up, “1-800-hotlines” to address rumors and also ran “town hall meetings”, “email blasts”, “electronic bulletin boards” and “newsletters” with Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQ’s) before any major change work in is undertaken.
Once the effort is underway it also makes sense to make random call to employees to gage how well the workforce is aware of the change and understanding its impacts.
Being proactive with your communications is key to ascertain the effectiveness of on-going communications, clarity of key messages, frequency of communications, and getting feedback if the right people are communicating at the right time to the right audience.
Q3.What do companies report to be the biggest failure in applying a change management process, what are the lessons learned from that experience?
A3.Failure of Leaders, managers and sponsors to go through training first in order for them to be role models for supporting the change. When they failed to do this, the workforce do not believe the leaders and management team are committed to the change. The lesson learned from this is to not only train leaders and managers first, but also have them kick-off training sessions and also teach some aspect of it.
Q4. What role does stewardship and governance play in a successful change process?
A4. What we are really talking about is sponsorship for change. Sponsorship must exist at various levels of the organization. These are stewards who champion the change process even when progress runs into road blocks. And you must provide sponsors with tools to identify change issues and provide them with change intervention techniques to address whatever comes up; turning problems into opportunities, how to be an active listener, how to ask open-ended questions, etc.
Sponsors also need to report bi-weekly how they see the change is progressing as “listening posts” to the organization, and how to process the information from the workforce to ensure that everyone see’s first hand that communications and feedback is a positive part of the effort.
Q5. How do organizations successfully measure change?
A5. It’s important to use some form of a balanced scorecard that uses data from survey’s and focus groups. Metrics for calibrating, awareness, understanding, buy-in, engagement and involvement, as well support are important stages of change that require tracking. These metrics need to be established early on and tracked monthly throughout the change journey. If you can’t measure it, you probably cannot change it.