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Pathway to successful change

70% of change programs fail and 90% of the reasons for those failures are directly related to people.

 Success rate of change programs are not great.  It’s in the execution that most fail.  So how do you implement change and manage the complexities of human behaviour, when change is so personal?

The successful implementation of change is dependent on the way that people understand their roles and have had input in the design. Decisions made behind closed doors with little or no input from the people who are expected to change their behaviour and work patterns is a key contributor to change programs failing.

While every change program is different, there is a single common principle that defines the process – change is personal.

With so many change management methodologies drawing on research and better practice the pathways to successful change are relatively the same.  Understanding what motivates an individual to change is critical in building the bigger picture of pervasive organisational change. Engage your people early in the process, make a connection at an individual level, build the belief and desire (emotional level) necessary to make the changes and introduce learning and development programs to build capability across newly introduced systems and ways of working and behaving.

The pathway to successful change include the following:

  • Identify your approach.  Design a robust change plan/methodology with clearly defined outcomes and actions. Create individual project plans to support the various key actions of the change plan and ensure you have the right people (respected individuals, with the necessary skills, knowledge) leading the change.
  • Leadership is the key lever in achieving successful organisational change. Leadership teams set the tone and establish the behaviours that others will follow. For leaders to succeed, they need to be highly visible sponsors and exceptional role models capable of articulating the rationale for change in a consistent and unified way. They need to be fully committed to the program and follow through with commitments. Introducing coaching and training on change management and the role leaders play during change is a necessary investment many organisations overlook.
  • Change needs to be at the heart of the organisation.   Engage front line managers early in the process and empower them with the necessary skills and coaching to manage change. Managers will need to coach their people and personalise the change – the ‘what’s in it for me’ – for people to believe and increase their desire to want to change.
  • Since the introduction of change (moving from current to future state) generally involves the introduction of new systems, skills and new and different ways of doing, behaving and performing; introduce relevant learning programs and support systems to ensure people build the capability necessary to make the change.
  • Clear, concise, consistent, honest communication and engagement. You can never do too much of this.  Do it well, utilising numerous mediums, however do not under estimate the power of face to face and personal communication.
  • Build your change plan into a campaign.  Rally your people to the cause.  Create excitement and a sense of urgency.
  • Celebrate success and reward consistently to reinforce the positive changes being realised and act promptly and decisively when performance and behaviours are not conducive to the desired changes.
  • Ensure consistent performance measures are cascaded down the organisation to individual work plans for sustainable change.
  • Monitor regularly. With all the best intentions and planning, things will go wrong.  Put in place monitoring processes and guidelines to ensure appropriate steps are taken to minimise risk before it happens. Survey the success of change and look at what areas still require focus.
  • You’ve ticketed off all the process steps of your change plan, and people are beginning to settle into the new way of working.  Benefits of the change are being realised.  But don’t stop now.  Keep the change real and instil it into the culture of the business.   Change is constant and this should be considered the beginning and not the end.

The HR Landscape has been supporting businesses undertaking change since 2007. Contact our office on +61 3 86106579 for more information on how we can support you.

The HR Landscape Pty Ltd.  All rights reserved. 2014

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