It's ironic that while most people know what conditions need to be in place for effective management of change, these straightforward needs are often missed. The intent gets the attention; the details of execution are forgotten. The elements are simple - listen to the stakeholders, learn about the issues, lead with clarity and involvement, align systems, communicate relentlessly, follow-up and course-correct.
If it's possible to condense the key to successfully managing change into a single word, that word would be "listen" - to employees, customers, managers, business partners, vendors and whoever else has a stake in the issue or the outcome.
It's not hard to do. Consider who will be most affected; ask questions and listen carefully to the responses. This can be on a small, local scale - informal conversations. Or it can be on a large, corporate-wide scale, through meetings, surveys, social media, or focus groups.
If the most important stakeholder group is employees, ask them what they think about what's happening, what their concerns are, what they need and what they think should be done. You'll learn fast; you'll have answers to your own questions; and you'll have the raw material for a plan to address the issue, solve the problem or lead the change.
The book includes chapters focusing on specific issues relating to change management, including:
- Keeping change on track
- Developing a summary document for change
- Managing employee focus groups
- Developing a workshop for planning change
- Developing FAQ guides to support change
Short case histories describe situations in which the approaches and methods have been applied. And the book includes guidance on the process of developing the various tools as well as templates for the tools themselves.
Develop materials using the templates included in each section, and then deploy the resulting plans and processes in your own organization. These resources will help you think through your purpose, develop a process, and create the tools you need. They can assist line managers, HR professionals and others as they manage change within the organization.