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Control the 8 stages of change

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Take a hard look to see if you and your organization are moving through these eight stages of successful large-scale change:

1. A new sense of urgency spurs key people—at least 100 at a smaller organization and 1,000 at a large one—off the couch, out of a bunker and ready to move. Unsuccessful attempts involve only a handful of these leaders, which can breed anger, fear or complacency among the rank and file.

2. Once the urgency cranks up, you need a guiding team with the skills and authority to act. Unsuccessful leaders rely on a single person or no one, instead assigning task forces or complex governing structures that don’t have the power to do the job.

3. In the best-case scenario, your guiding team acts on a vision and a set of strategies. In less successful cases, the only things people have to go on are detailed plans and budgets. And if a vision even exists, it’s fuzzy or impractical.

4. Effective communication depends on sending the organization’s vision through unclogged channels. Stories and symbols help. You and all your teammates will have to repeat the story over and over.

5. The importance of empowering people is bandied around a lot, but the essential point remains: You need to work with your people to remove obstacles that keep them from moving toward the vision. The worst kind of bosses say they’re there to help employees succeed, then vanish into endless meetings or become unavailable through travel or other commitments.

6. The team produces short-term wins. These build credibility, confidence and momentum. They can help you win new funding to take the vision further. In unsuccessful situations, the cynics win as the successes come slowly and don’t really mesh with the organization’s vision.

7. Change leaders don’t let up. They keep momentum going by looking ahead and choosing the next phase of change so that the work stays exciting and the organization’s vision turns into products, services and a good reputation. Weak leaders bog down and quit too soon.

8. Leaders make change stick. They do it by consistency in their words and actions over a period long enough to change the culture. The secret is engaging people’s emotions, giving new hires a good start and providing the promised rewards. Where a culture doesn’t change, traditions remain firmly embedded and new procedures merely float on the surface.

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