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Change Management: 8 Guidelines for Successful Change

Updated: Mar 19

Change requires strength. Sure, sticking to the status quo is much easier than creating a new situation or changing old habits. This applies on an individual level as well as in companies or entire societies. Why go for a walk for an hour every day when I feel just as comfortable on my couch with a potato chip bag? Only when my blood test results get worse or my body feels sick all of the sudden, it becomes obvious: I can’t continue like this.

It's time for change.

three interim managers engaged in a discussion over a tablet
collaborative spirit: sharing insights and innovation

Whether you want to exercise more, stop eating meat or travel less, that’s something you have to decide for yourself.

In companies, on the other hand, there are usually a number of stakeholders who want to be involved in change processes. They are not easy to implement and yet possible with the right approach. You have a high chance of success with these eight guidelines.

1. Change is necessary

As a so-called "change agent", you have to be 200 percent convinced. And communicate it to your team. It is important to involve as many stakeholders as possible. Be it financiers, customers or your own team. Convince them that change is necessary and possible.

2. You need a plan

Think about what the desired result should look like and design a suitable strategy. What obstacles are likely to show up – and how can they be addressed? Which employees are suitable for the implementation of the strategy? Combine these individual steps into a coherent, overarching vision so that you never lose sight of your goal.

3. Support from the team

Support from the team helps to reduce possible resistance to the innovation process. Therefore, ensure a high level of participation and initiative on the part of your employees. There is always resistance to "change", and it can take various forms, for example politically or ideologically motivated. Fortunately, there are just as many strategies to deal with it. One of them is to transfer responsibility to various (internal) stakeholders.

4. Green light from the executive floor

Influential individuals are crucial for the success of change processes. Make sure your boss is behind the project.

5. Involve external stakeholders

Depending on the situation, project and size of the company, it is helpful to coordinate change processes with political or social actors.

6. Ensure you have sufficient resources

Funds are usually scarce. This does not only mean the project budget, but also the time resources of your staff. Also think of external service providers such as translators, logisticians or graphic designers. Be realistic: Plan enough resources. Projects often fail due to insufficient funds. This is unfortunate and unnecessary.

7. From transition to permanence

In order for change to last permanently, it must be institutionalized. This often requires a change in behaviour; new values and standards must be adopted and actively lived by everyone in the company. This prevents your company from falling back into old patterns – and ensures the sustainable success of your change project.

8. Networking and Communication

Even though the change process often targets a specific area of a company (IT), the entire company is indirectly involved. Therefore, it is important to involve all areas from the outset and to communicate the (desired) change at all levels and across all departments. Only if all "subsystems" of a company are on the same page, nothing stands in the way of your successful change project.

Not all eight suggestions have to be fulfilled at the same time. However, depending on the situation and the company, some of them can certainly help you. More about the eight success factors of change processes can be found here:

Book Title: “Sustaining Service Members and Their Families Book Subtitle: Exploring Opportunities for Efficiency and Joint Provision of Services Using Non appropriated Funds” Book Author(s): Kathryn Connor, Carra S. Sims, Rianne Laureijs, Jaime L. Hastings, Kristin Van Abel, Kayla M. Williams and Michael Schwille

Have you recently implemented a change project yourself?

What successes have you achieved – and what would you do differently next time?

Share your experience with us! We look forward to hearing from you!

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