Change is an essential part of any thriving business culture. Leadership at every level must be able to manage the tension between decision-making and effective execution. Here’s the thing, bad execution will tank your best decisions every time.
Often in a race against self-imposed timelines and a rare sense of reality for what it will take to implement bigger decisions and initiatives, many leaders jump right into action without much thought of preparation. As former Secretary of State, James Baker, once said, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
Preparing for Change
The idea of change management on a personal level has been studied for more than one hundred years. But it is only since the mid-1980s that change management has been explored within the context of business applications.
Today’s change management initiatives have become a business discipline, driving bottom-line results through changes in systems and behaviors. Managing change has therefore become a critical skill, both for leadership — and for workers in an organization.
Defining Your Strategy
It is critical to manage change by creating and implementing a strategy that defines an approach consistent with the unique needs of the organization. The strategy serves as the guiding framework, providing direction and shaping decision-making throughout the change process.
A simple two-step process will go a long way toward ensuring your decisions are implemented with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. The first step is to ask the right questions.
|The Situation||What changes will the decision/initiative require? How much perceived need for these changes exists? Who will be impacted and how? How long will the change take? What will be the benefits of the changes?|
|People and Their Roles||Who are the “promotors” needed to support change? What functional leaders/groups/individuals should be represented to lead the effort?|
|Issues for Analysis||What will happen if we do/don’t do this? What is the scope of change (how deep and wide)? Are there exceptions or deviations to consider?|
This first step will inform the second, which is to create a simple strategy document to serve as a leadership “blueprint” for the initiative. A strategy document should discuss important components of the change. Here’s an initial list of components accompanied by sample verbiage.
|Strategy Component||Sample Language/Notes|
|Description of the proposed change vision, and its goals||Transform the business processes and the technology by which the organization manages the human resources and payroll functions|
|The reasons(s) why the change is necessary||These changes will allow the organization to save time and money and provide more responsive HR and payroll services to our employees|
|Critical success measures and key performance indicators||Risks have been proactively identified and addressed Employees are prepared to perform their new job on Go live day with a 95% success ratio|
|Project stakeholders and stakeholder groups and their involvement||The current Phase: Senior management The Pre-Implementation Phase: Senior management, subject matter experts, change champions|
|Key messages to communicate||Pre-Implementation Phase: The business requirements, business case staffing, and the projected timeline|
|Roles and Responsibilities||Communications Team Lead: Develop project communications and presentations Change Management Team Lead: Direct overall team activities; Provide team with change management expertise; Manage Project Team Effectiveness, Capability Transfer, & Leadership Alignment activities|
|Target time frame to achieve goals||(This can be a graphical timeline, a paragraph, an embedded spreadsheet, etc.)|
|Focus Areas||Leadership Alignment: Align leaders to the project vision and enable them to champion the effort Organizational transition: Design new employee roles, jobs, and organization structures to support the new processes and technology|
Building the Team
To effectively implement major initiatives, it’s best if you assemble a team of leaders with a high degree of skill in six key elements:
- Conflict management
It is important to have a team representing all of the functional groups and roles necessary to manage the change initiative. Formalizing the team and providing funding and other resources, sends a message of accountability and responsibility, and illustrates the investment the organization has made in the change.
If there’s a pattern of great ideas and decisions falling short of expectations, there’s a reason. This initial step of preparation will help you create a new one of prioritizing and mobilizing with intention. To do this effectively, you need the right people in the right seats around you.
Our “Confident Leader Insight Assessment” provides a powerful peak inside your own thinking potential and even more powerfully gives you a peak inside your team’s. Align the right people with the right seats on your bus and watch your business thrive. Check it out by clicking HERE.
If you’d like more interpretation of your results or want to explore how these assessments can be a game changer in building and strengthening your leadership team, click the following link to schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation: