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Leading Organizational Change: Part 2: Managing the Change Initiative

This is Part 2 of a 4 part article on how to effectively lead organizational change. Please read Part I of this article. Part 3 will cover reinforcing the change and part 4 will focus on best practices to evaluate and maintain the change over time.

By following a simple process, we can more effectively and successfully launch organizational change initiatives.

Leading Organizational Change

Managing the Change Initiative

Once you have moved forward and launched the organizational change initiative, you will need to continue to socialize the initiative and get the project kicked off effectively.

Communicating with Stakeholders

First, set up a communication plan to share with all stakeholders and invite stakeholders to kick off meetings to get them used to the upcoming change and engaged in the initiative (share the communication plan at the kick off meetings). Notice that “meetings” is plural. Use a variety of ways (including meetings) to communicate with stakeholders (especially in a larger organization or when there are shifts) to ensure you capture as many folks as possible and get them engaged about the initiative. For example, I may set up the following types of meetings/communications to initially communicate the change initiative to employees within the organization:

  • Face-to-face meetings (held in the morning, midday and end of day over a week time period)
  • Information posted about the change initiative on an internal portal
  • Email communications
  • Posters in the hallway or café (in employee-only areas of the organization)
  • Virtual meetings (at least 3 held at various times to accommodate a variety of schedules)

Your communication plan should include a plan for regular communications with stakeholders as the initiative progresses along with forums to ask questions and get clarification – such as through monthly lunch and learns, coffee sessions or via a portal.

Include in your communication plans a high level schedule for the initiative – such as when training will occur, when the change will be rolled out and other key details. This enables all employee to feel a part of the initiative and to understand what will be done to ensure they can be successful working within the changed environment.

Your very first communication will focus on the benefits of the change to both the organization and the individual employees along with the risk of not changing. You cannot effectively launch this initial communication until you understand your audience and their perceptions, overall, around change. You will need to craft your early communications about the change initiative to get employees excited and engaged early on in the process.

These initial communications are absolutely essential to the success of the organizational change initiative. You must get employees comfortable and on board with the change early enough. Spend the time on these initial and follow up communications prior to moving forward with getting started on the change project.

In Part 3, we will discuss how to reinforce the change.

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