Seven Strategies Can Make Change Management Successful

  April 25, 2011

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Jodi Williams, a workplace consultant with HOK Advance Strategies: When implementing a major change, these seven strategies can help overcome obstacles to change.

Obtain executive support: Having an executive "walk the walk" is extremely important. Former Intel Chairman and CEO Andy Grove used to sit in an 8-by-9 foot cubicle like the rest of his employees because he felt it was the most productive way to work; New York City Mayor Bloomberg has also embraced this concept.

Ensure good communication: Both failing to get the message out and failing to listen are equally dangerous.

Overcome limitations of the organization: Lack of cross-functional collaboration or hierarchical issues can torpedo a change process. Sprint found that the Sprint Mobile Zone requirement for space change, behavior change and new technology resulted in the need for collaboration among human resources, information technology and real estate. This cross-functional collaboration was a critical element in the success of the process.

Establish clear goals: without a specific set of goals or vision, the change process cannot adequately prepare staff for the change. Nissan North America hosted strategic visioning sessions to explore the business’ goals, developing and vetting a plan for a high-tech teaming environment to enhance collaboration.

Acknowledge staff: A change cannot be successful without full participation and recognition of the staff - whether through informal "attaboys" or more formal acknowledgements.

Develop clear plans: Great ideas don't just happen. One company moved a large group of employees from an old, crowded urban corporate headquarters to a new, suburban location. To ease the transition, the company provided a shuttle service from the downtown location to the suburban location. Unfortunately, however, a lack of planning and communication created employee upset when the company explained that the shuttle program was a temporary service, and would be discontinued after the initial occupancy period.

Be patient: Recognize that even with change management, adaptation is going to take time.


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