Ten Tips for Making Change Stick
1. COMMUNICATE DURING CHANGE
It’s important that people know the change that is happening and why. But this message shouldn’t be a one-off: you should be delivering clear communication all the way through the change. Communication is vital to address uncertainty, update on successes, keep transparent dialogue with people affected by the change, keep promoting the journey and its outcomes…we could go on.
2. WATCH OUT FOR RUMOURS & GOSSIP
This usually comes about when there is a general lack of information. If you’re not providing updates or clear enough information, the messages seem garbled and unclear, or the frequency is low, people will start to make assumptions about the change, and maybe even question its purpose and success. Even if the rumours are way off base, you need to address this fast. The longer you leave them hanging out there, the harder it is to break the gossip cycle.
3. MAKE SPACE FOR FEEDBACK
Feedback is an essential tool in any change project. It offers the opportunity to build understanding from different perspectives and gauge the sentiment and feeling of those involved in change. And it’s not something to be used just at the end of the change – make sure you have clear feedback channels throughout the entire change journey.
4. REMEMBER THE LOSSES AND THE GAINS
Whilst many change projects deliver good things, these comes at a cost, requiring people to let go of old ways of working and give up the comfort zone of confidence in what they do. That’s a big ask and you should acknowledge that there are losses. This can have an emotional impact on how people feel about their role and it shouldn’t be minimised.
5. AVOID TWEAKING UNTIL YOU’RE A PRO
There are always mistakes and setbacks when a new process is first introduced, and the usual reaction is to make a small tweak. But don’t. Before you know it, you’ll have made tweak after tweak until people are back to their old ways. Wait until the new process has become the go-to norm before attempting to make any changes to it. Only then are you looking at it from a place of expertise.
6. CELEBRATE THE WINS
Change is a long journey, but there are lots of milestones along that way that can be celebrated. Take time to acknowledge achievements as you go along, demonstrate that progress is being made, and keep everyone motivated.
7. FIND YOUR CHANGE CHAMPIONS
You can never be in all places at once, so it is important to find people who can keep delivering the message of change when you are not there. Find colleagues or teammates that are well respected and credible to act as your change leaders. And don’t just look for people in management roles: remember, champions can come from anywhere in the organisation.
8. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
It is not enough to tell people that they need to change their behaviour; people won’t change if all they see is business as usual from management. You must be the role model for the desired behaviours in every way, every day.
9. REMEMBER YOUR TRAINING
Everyone needs training when you’re making a change, and it’s an essential part of long-term change success. Training will help to reinforce the desired behaviours, so consider a continuing programme of training for those that struggle to adopt the change, as well as the initial training sessions.
10. BE PREPARED TO GIVE IT TIME
Learning something new takes time. No one picks up a tennis racket and finds they have the skills of Roger Federer overnight; you shouldn’t expect change to be an overnight success either. Even when everyone is engaged in making change successful it takes time for it to be fully realised. Be patient. Manage expectations. Don’t give up.
We are passionate about supporting businesses through change. At times like this, we know change is reactive, and budgets are tight, and we have developed our Accelerated Change Review, aimed at helping businesses at this challenging time, and priced to deliver maximum value at a one-off low cost.