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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Communicating The Need for Change

If there's one thing that's constant, it's change.

But the one thing that our employees need is a clear explanation of:

  • Why are we changing? (what's wrong with what we're doing now?)
  • What are the benefits of changing? (how will things be better if we do?)
  • What are the consequences of not changing? (what will happen if we don't?)

It's no wonder then, that:

  • 70 percent of all change initiatives fail -- due to human nature (people) issues

The reasons? Sometimes it's because of senior leadership's inability to lead or explain the reasons that changes are needed. Other times, it's a lack of understanding, or engagement, or unwillingness to deal with change, and so forth.

BOTTOMLINE: Keep in mind the following eight-steps of change, by John P. Kotter:

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency- Examine market and competitive realities- Identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities
  2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition- Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort- Encourage the group to work as a team
  3. Create a Vision- Create a vision to help direct the change effort- Develop strategies for achieving that vision
  4. Communicate the Vision- Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies - Teach new behaviors by the example of the guiding coalition
  5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision- Get rid of obstacles to change- Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision- Encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions
  6. Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins- Plan for visible performance improvements- Creating those improvements- Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements
  7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change- Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don't fit the vision- Hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision- Reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents
  8. Institutionalize New Approaches- Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success- Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

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