Driving Change and Successful Business Transformation

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The sad reality is that many business change or transformation initiatives fail along the way. Not due to any lack of effort or investment, but rather a lack of clear thinking or poor communication.

Here are some ideas to mitigate against these two common causes of failed change.

Most people like check-lists. So, start with a check-list of things you have to get right. Then, agree with stakeholders in the change process how it is that you are going to deliver these.

Here is my check-list. You can build a plan around these five points without too much difficulty.

  1. Confirm support for the initiative from senior staff
  2. Agree how the organisation expects to benefit from the change
  3. Assess how capable the organisation is of accepting change
  4. Understand how the business likes to communicate and match it
  5. Support the change process through good leadership, appropriate training & facilitation

If you like the “check-list” method try another set to help guide your communications. These “communication rules” should be agreed with your sponsors or senior stakeholders. You do not need to start from scratch. Others have got there first, of course. Try the “4 Ps approach” coined by William Bridges (Managing Transitions 2003) in his popular and much quoted text on the subject.

Bridges encourages managers to help staff with the normal anxiety that is brought on by change and accelerate through the change transition process by using “The Four Ps”:

  1. Purpose: Why are we doing this? What problem are we solving? What are we trying to achieve? People must understand the logic of a change before they can embrace it.
  2. Picture: What is the end game? How is it going to work? What is changing and what isn’t? People often need to imagine what the change will look like before they can commit.
  3. Plan: What is the road map for getting to where we need to go? What is going to happen over the next few weeks and months? What happens first, second, third? People need a clear idea of how they are going to get to where they need to go.
  4. Part: What is my role? How will I be involved? Do I have an opportunity for input into the plan? When will I be trained? People need a tangible way to contribute.

By providing information about the four Ps in all of your communications, you will help your team understand why the change is necessary, what it looks like, how you’re all going to get there, and how they fit in. Keep in mind that during times of transition, your communication isn’t just about sharing information. It’s also about how you use your communication to connect with your employees, let them know you care and build their commitment to the change.

Two check-lists to help mitigate against failed change management due to lack of clear thinking and poor communication.

What do you think?

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