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Eight Key Steps to Effectively Drive Organizational Change

As a follow-up to last week’s blog, “The Top Ten Reasons Why Change Initiatives Fail”, we promised we would share the keys to successfully drive organizational change within your branch, department, division or company. The foundation of any successful change initiative is “cultural readiness” to adapt and align with the change. Here are eight key steps to ensure your change initiative sticks:

  1. Create a sense of urgency.

  • For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of urgency around the need for change.

  • This is about open, honest and convincing dialogue about what's happening in the marketplace and with your competition. As more and more people start positively talking about the impending change, the urgency can build and feed on itself.

  • To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance.

  • By making key stakeholders part of the process you will see firsthand that shared diagnosis leads to mutual engagement and accountability.

  1. Create a vision or “North Star” for the change.

  • Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” and John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon by the end of this decade” are two of the most powerful vision statements of the last 100 years.Both were simple to understand and mobilized people to execute upon.

  • It has been said that if you asked a NASA janitor in the 1960’s what his role was, he’d respond, “I am helping to put an astronaut on the moon.”That is clear vision with a terminal point that everyone could rally around.

  1. Communicate the vision every chance you get.

  • In real estate it is location, location, location.In business it is communication, communication, communication!

  • Your message will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully.

  • Talk about it every chance you get. Use the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you keep it fresh on everyone's minds, they'll remember it and respond to it.

  1. Remove obstacles.

  • Identify change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.

  • Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and compensation systems to ensure they're in line with your vision.

  • Recognize and reward people for making change happen.

  • Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see what's needed.

  • Take action to quickly remove barriers (human or otherwise).

  1. Create short-term wins.

  • Nothing motivates more than success.

  • Within a month or two, you'll want to have some "quick wins" that your staff can see

  • Without this, critics and negative thinkers might hurt your progress.

  • Create short-term targets – not just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure.

  1. Build momentum.

  • Many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change.

  • After every win, analyze what went right, and what needs improving.

  • Set goals to continue building on the momentum you've achieved.

  1. Build a “system” of reinforcing activities.

  • Finally, to make any change stick, it should be woven into the fabric of your company.Make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organization

  • Balanced Scorecard

  • Shared Services Scorecard

  • Immediate recognition and reward

  • Individual objectives (MBO)

As stated in last week’s blog, up to 80% of change initiatives fall short of their desired results. Butler Street Managing Partners have over 100 years of organizational change experience. We can work with you to develop and execute a plan around organizational change, ensuring the change is woven into the fabric of your company and culture. Click CONTACT and let’s start the conversation.

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