How to execute a successful change management plan

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A change management plan needs to clearly articulate the areas of the business that are to be affected and the impact on customers, suppliers, stakeholders, and employees.

The following steps are important in executing a successful change management plan:

Set the Goal

Workers need to be able to see the roles they play in achieving the new goals and what it will mean for them, their coworkers, their unit, and the organisation once the goals are achieved.

It is important to be able to articulate to employees where the company is now and where leadership sees it in the future.

Leaders should also be able to articulate why the company needs to change and where it needs to be, whether due to shifting market forces, new opportunities, financial issues, or a new strategic approach.

Define the change

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Updates should be provided frequently to mitigate rumors, answer questions, and provide reassurance. 

The faster the change happens, the more frequent updates should be.

Celebrate the old

For employees who worked hard on those items, this can be a major slap in the face, erode morale, and lead to more concern. 

During a period of change, leaders should recognise that such work happened, was important, and had meaning. 

Underappreciated employees will have a harder time embracing new initiatives.

Regular and frank conversation is needed at the beginning of and throughout a change management process.

Address challenges

All changes come with risk of the unknown, uncertainty, and other potential challenges. 

It is important that companies are upfront about the challenges that may be faced.

Even if those challenges have not been fully identified and planned for, it is a good move to try and discuss the potential challenges, the range of those challenges, and what the company is doing or will do to address them.

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Listen carefully

Employees are going to have a lot of questions, ideas, feelings, and emotions. 

It is important for managers, from front-line supervisors to c-suite leaders, to openly and actively listen to these concerns, validate them, and address them as clearly and frankly as possible. 

Even if you are unable to address their concerns, it is important to express that the employee concerns have been heard and will be addressed at a later date.

Find key influencers

Getting key players on board and letting them act as a sounding board can help senior leaders better understand how change is being perceived, refer recurring issues, and become advocates for the change. 

Walking these influence-leaders through the change process and getting them on board can help with communication and confidence during the change period.

Adjust or set new performance objectives

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Organisations need to translate changes into performance appraisal, assessment, compensation, and promotion cycles quickly. 

Employees in a time of uncertainty will want to know how the changes will affect the way they are evaluated. 

These changes need to be articulated well before the performance period begins whenever possible.

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