Although "Change Management" is something of a buzz word today, the ability to appropriately plan and prepare for change is a critical skill in both your professional and personal life. Here are 10 sure-shot ways to ensure that you are ready for the changes in your life.
1.) Make Your Business Case. Change for change's sake may be a good way to brush the dust off a lagging social life, but it’s never a good thing in the business world. You always want to start a change effort by articulating the need for a change. How is it going to help the company? Prepare a statement of the problem that this change will eradicate.
Tips for Problem Statements: Make sure it is a statement, not a treatise, on the current problem. Include the time frame for, the dollar amount saved, or productivity gained by the change.
2.) Identify Your Post-Change Vision. It may seem like a fluffy exercise but taking a few minutes to imagine the world post-change is an indispensable step to understanding the need for and the implication of the change. What does the landscape look like? What will be different?
Real Life Example: You are rallying troops to automate a currently labor-intensive accounting process. Bring the team in and ask them to spend 10 minutes imagining the work day with this new automated statement. Ask them what they will be doing differently so that they can see how their lives will be improved.
3.) Know Your Stakeholders. A stakeholder is anyone who will be affected by the impact of the change – customers, employees, your significant other. Create a stakeholder plan, identifying their current stance towards the change (favorable, neutral, unfavorable), and the action plan for getting them where you need them to be.
Example of a Stakeholder Action Plan:
Name: Maggie Liu
Current Stance: Neutral
Desired Stance: Favorable
Action Plan: Meet and engage with Adam first. Then schedule meeting with change team, Maggie, and Adam so that he can support in her presence.
4.) Engage Your Supporters. Change can be a traumatic time, especially if it is unexpected. Identify and engage the people who believe in the need for the change and get their support, in whatever way you need them to be supportive.
Tip: Supporters can be passive and active. Decide what you want from whom and don’t ask for more than you need.
5.) Engage Your Resisters. You know what they say: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. More important than engaging your supporters is finding out where your resistance is coming from, and what you need to overcome it. Preparing for objection before-hand is the best way to combat it.
Tip: In some cases, you may not need to sway your resisters. Just knowing they exist and what their objections are is enough.