There’s the predictable change of seasons, the less predictable hourly change of the weather, and the even more unpredictable change of moods among people we know and love.
So what about corporate change? What happens when a business requires fundamental change, for whatever reason?
Change management can be a huge ordeal for companies – whether they’re a relatively small start-up or a global brand with multiple sites and thousands of employees. The key, intrinsic to whatever level of change that might be, is specificity, communication, ownership, reassurance and evaluation: SCORE.
This five-point approach is a system I’ve labelled after countless experiences of working with clients to help them navigate the waters of change management. Let’s look at them in detail:
Whatever the cause of your organisational change, it’s vital that you’re specific about what that looks like.
Is the change a new brand? If so, does that affect any pre-existing collateral? When will the rollout take place? Who is delivering it?
Or, is it a company restructure? If so, who’s in and who’s out?
Ok, that bit is obvious, but what about:
When does it happen? Who will now report to who? Is there a changeover window? What right to challenge exists? Who are the new staff / investors? How are they being introduced?
The biggest potential traumas in change management can come in mishandled (or altogether neglected) communications.
Consider who are the key stakeholders who need to be informed of change, and make sure you’re using appropriate messaging to target each group. From the press, to your staff, to your clients and your suppliers – all need to know about a major business change.
Explore whether you’ll be relying on print or online mediums to relay the messaging in some cases, and face-to-face communication for others. Debate the approach with your internal HR and PR teams if you have them inhouse, or task a communications consultant who can help you.
There’s no point in having lots of goals and tasks in place if you haven’t allocated who is taking charge of each step. Make sure ownership is given to the right individual or department to see through a certain aspect of your change management.
It helps them to feel part of the process and ‘buy in’ to the journey.
Change management, to a great extent, can be about keeping the ship steady as it steers its new course. Human nature dictates that people often fear change.
So, whether you’re looking at relaying the change to a client, a supplier or a member of staff, make sure you’re taking a reassuring tone. You want the recipient of your information to feel that the change is a very good thing, and that it will have a positive bearing on their future.
Spread that reassurance into your approach throughout the process, particularly reminding staff that they are playing a vital part and are very much valued.
No project has a point unless there is some degree of evaluation attached. Whether that’s at key stages throughout a change process, or at the very end of a transition, it’s important everyone knows what has been achieved and where their sights should be now.
Evaluation should be ongoing too. Even at the end of the main change implementation, diary to assess and evaluate its impact at the end of every quarter or year. It will remind you why you wanted to adopt that process in the first place!
Email me to find out how I can help with your change management process