In this video, change management expert Bob McGannon takes you through the five phases involved in managing a change initiative, including change formulation and refinement; creating a change plan; providing early samples of the desired change; implementation and support; and reinforce and adjust.
- It may involve a few people or an entire organization. It might be a minor adjustment responding to a change in customer support or it could be a full-scale bet the business initiative to leap frog your competitors. No matter what the scale, there are five distinct phases you can use to approach a change initiative. First, there's change formulation and refinement. Next, you create a change plan. Then, you provide early change examples.
This is followed by implementation and support. And last, reinforce and adjust the change. Let's start by going over the principles of each of these phases. I'll provide more detail in each of these phases in this chapter. Phase one focuses on change formulation and refinement. An organizational change can be rooted in a simple idea like "change our product support to please "a larger segment of the marketplace." This is more of a slogan than a true change initiative.
It's an objective rather than an approach. Refining the nature of the change within the organization is critical for any change initiative to be successful. So the idea I just shared might now become: "Change our product support by providing more flexibility "to our marketing staff to vary pricing, "educating our help desk staff more thoroughly, "and creating a new role of customer support representative "dedicated to each of our largest clients." All of these initiatives involve organizational change in order to be more flexible and supportive.
Next is phase two, create a change plan. The example I've shared represents an organizational change to the way customers are supported by providing a major managerial and cultural shift in how they help clients. Each approach selected, such as creating the new customer support role for larger clients, requires a plan. That plan not only focuses on how to recruit, educate and introduce this role to clients, but you must plot how the individual serving in the role should interact with staff and management.
Careful and thorough planning with all staff is required to succeed in such a change journey. Also, demonstrating examples of new activities the role might create can help explain the change to your staff, which brings me to the next phase. The third phase is to provide early examples of the desired change. Your organization is more likely to buy into a change if they see leaders embracing and displaying the desired change. So, in my example, members of the help desk management team should handle customer calls and show the staff the change in approach.
This actively displays greater flexibility and gives staff members permission to increase their level of customer support. In addition, a manager shows their dedication to new initiatives by going out on customer calls with the marketing team and demonstrate the application of greater flexibility and pricing. These early examples might not always work perfectly, but showing the desire to change and the flexibility to learn from initial attempts will likely inspire the desired behaviors in your staff.
So that brings us to the next phase. Phase four is implementation and support. The moment of truth in any initiative, especially a change initiative, is implementing the change. This is when emotions are the highest. You see both excitement, apprehension, and everything in between. In this step it's vital that you monitor your change outcomes and provide ongoing support to your team members who may be struggling with new approaches to their job.
Gentle persistence and support is the key to helping your staff through this period. And finally, phase five is when you reinforce and adjust. Although your changes might yield improvements, permanent change in an organization requires constant care and adjustment. Continue to talk with your staff. Find out what's working and what could be improved. Try your best to take staff ideas and implement them to gain further buy-in for your changes.
So that's it, the phases for change initiatives. Follow these diligently and you're likely to watch your change improvements soar.
- Understanding the levels of change management
- Working through the five phases of change management
- Creating a change plan
- Communicating change
- Implementing change
- Managing risk
- Reinforcing change
- Evaluating the change
- Guiding individuals through change