Following best practice tips will help you to avoid common mistakes during the implementation of your change initiative.
Use the CORE cycle (see the blog series “CORE solution for successful change management” for more details) to check if your implementation plan is complete. Simply answer the following questions:
- What is the driving urgency for change? Who experiences it? Who needs to experience it?
- Is there a vision that unifies the urgency experienced by the different players?
- Have expectations been set? For whom? Who will set their own expectations, and what is the impact of that?
- Has the planning accomplished buy-in?
- Who is truly committed? In other words, who can you trust to take the lead?
- Where do you expect value to be created?
- What measurements will be used to validate that value was created?
- How is that value going to be used, both to (re)shape expectations and to adapt the implementation plan?
The answers to these questions can help you to optimize the implementation plan and therefore improve the likelihood that your change initiative will be successful.
Do the research and find the urgency. The research usually requires interviews, with the questions targeted toward understanding the individuals’ personal sense of urgency.
Given that different people will have different roles and expectations, communicating expectations through a vision is important but seldom enough. I suggest maintaining a communication plan. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet that helps keep track of who is communicating what to whom, including:
- Expectations of different stakeholders and how expectations have been set.
- Marketing to groups not directly involved with the implementation.
- Feedback between the PMO, steering team, implementation team, and others.
The steering team and implementation team need to leave their stamp on the implementation plan. Always remember that an important purpose for planning is to allow people to develop ownership.
It seems obvious that any change initiative should create value. However, strangely, I often find that people have not fully thought through answers to questions like: “what value?” and “for whom?”. Mismatched expectations among buyers and sellers can cause implementations to drag on for years. Identify the expected value and how it will be achieved and measured. Start collecting data early; there is no reason to wait.
Validate and communicate the value achieved by your change initiative continuously to all key people. But be mindful of the danger of the ‘silver bullet effect’ (see my blog “Why do so many change initiatives fail? (4) – success that kills – beware of the silver bullet” for more details). This effect can kill your initiative if you do not bolster the urgency at the same time to ensure the continued commitment of senior leaders.
With those things in mind, your implementation will produce and sustain long-term benefit – provided you do not fall into one of three traps which I will outline in my next blogs.
CORE: developed by ProChain Solutions
Article based on Rob Newbold, Making Change Stick, from the book Cox III, James F., and Schleier Jr., John G.,eds. Theory of constraints handbook. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2010. p. 116-119