In my experience, people not involved in the embryonic conception and development of a new initiative will rarely share the same enthusiasm and excitement for it as the project team. They haven’t been on the same journey, lived and breathed it for several weeks, months or even years; invested time, energy and commitment throughout the process and developed an emotional attachment to the change.
To them it’s another change, perhaps the latest flavour of the month and possibly tomorrow’s fish & chip paper.
It’s easy to overlook this and get carried away with the buzz of bringing an idea to fruition – and tempting to give yourselves a big pat on the back and an even bigger tick in the ‘job done’ box, using your best pen.
To avoid falling into this trap, you should produce a Change Communication Plan. You need to engage with people, tell them about the change, show them the benefits and then do it again, and then some more. Give them time to ask questions, test their understanding and get used to the change. Allow people to move through the Kübler-Ross change curve at their own pace – don’t forget you have had a much longer time to adjust than them during the project life cycle.
After the initial launch, you need to embed the change into the organisation’s DNA by:
- regularly checking and testing its understanding amongst your people
- building it into policies & procedures, performance measures, values, competencies, team meetings, Induction and training & development programmes
- defining clear measures of success in a Benefits Realisation paper
Defining, designing and implementing may be the exciting stages of the initiative but, in my opinion, sustaining is the most crucial. By all means celebrate the implementation but the overall success of the change should be measured over a sustained period of time.
So don’t use a pen to tick that box, use a pencil and regularly check progress against your measures of success. You may need to temporarily rub out the tick from time to time while you reinforce/ refresh the message and respond to changing conditions – Deming’s Plan, Do, Check, Act.
I have found that adopting the above principles will ensure that the change is firmly embedded and the long term benefits are realised.
If you would like to avoid the pitfalls when implementing change within your organisation and want to turn those great ideas into great results, please contact us at ted Consulting. We will be delighted to help and we’ll even bring our own pencils!