Managing any type of major organizational change can seem like a daunting task at first. It can be tough to know where to begin, how to communicate the change, and how to mitigate against any backlash that the organization may show to the change. In business management, changes are unavoidable and will eventually need to happen. Fortunately, there are change models and methods you can follow to facilitate the process.
The ADKAR model contains five stages that must met in sequential order to successfully manage the change. The model is named as an acronym for the first letter of each of its five primary steps. The first step is awareness; people need to need to know why the change is needed and why it's happening. The second stage is desire, in which organizational members demonstrate desire to participate in the change. The third stage is knowledge, where people in the organization learn how the change is going to occur. The final two stages are ability and reinforcement. In the ability stage, individuals within the organization will need to adapt new behaviors and perhaps new skills to support the change. The final stage is reinforcement, which is the ongoing process of ensuring that people are adhering to the change.
In order for a change to be successfully implemented, individuals and organizations need to obtain agreement, or buy-in, from their respective management teams. Unless everyone is on the same page and agrees as a whole that the change will be beneficial, you risk reverting back to old behaviors or creating defensive groups of people who actively resist the change, thus contributing to a loss in productivity. Be sure to obtain buy-in from the necessary parties before proceeding with change implementation.
One of the hardest parts of change management is getting people to understand why change needs to happen, and persuading them to agree and participate in the change. This is especially important if the change is going to have a dramatic impact on the day-to-day working lives of individuals in the organization. Be sure that you can clearly and articulately explain the reasons behind the change. If there are case studies of similar organizations that have implemented similar changes, you may want to reference them to demonstrate to employees that despite the initial difficult period of change, there will be long-term benefits both for individual employees and for the organization.
One way to approach change management and introduce it to your organization is to provide coaching to small groups of employees. Talk about when the change will happen, and help them develop the skills necessary to support the change. Instead of announcing the change to everyone at the same time, have people gradually learn about it by talking to their peers who have already been coached. Many of them, on hearing about the coaching, will look forward to their own opportunity to participate. The coach or coaches can also provide a resource for employees to go to when they need psychological help or support in dealing with the change.