How to Prepare for Organizational Change

READY is spelled in Scrabble tiles to show How to Prepare for Organizational Change

Organizational Change Is Here to Stay
Can you think of any business that can stay competitive without changing?  Whether large or small, some kind of change is always required to stay one step ahead.  So the question becomes – How to Prepare for Organizational Change?

Change Readiness
One of the critical factors of successful change is the preparation—what we call readiness—for change. It is all about laying the groundwork so that the rationale for change is effectively communicated, the vision of success is clear and the expectations are set with sufficient systems in place to create accountability.

A Compelling Case for Change
Resistance is a natural reaction to change.  Most employees question why they should learn another way to do their job when what they have been doing has served them well so far.  Effective change leaders make a compelling case for change in a way that convinces employees that it is worth their while to expend the time and energy to behave differently.  The best leaders know how to prepare for organizational change.

What Employees Say They Need to Come On Board
Here is what employees say they need from their change leaders:

  • Clear answers to how the change will affect them, their team and the company overall
  • The tools, resources, time and support to be successful in applying the new skills
  • Encouragement and understanding that, though there may be missteps along the way, they are moving in the right direction
  • Coaching and behavioral reinforcements to guide them toward the desired, new behaviors
  • Enough autonomy to feel that they have some control about how and when they practice the new behaviors

First Comes Empathy
Don’t underestimate how difficult change can be.  It may look easy to you from the board room.  But those in the trenches will feel a loss of confidence as they climb the learning curve.  Be sure you acknowledge their struggles and that you empathize with how this disrupts their lives both personally and professionally.

Then Clarity
Regularly communicate the need for change and answer all questions until each employee understands why it is necessary.

Finally Ongoing Reinforcement
Just as you reward small children with gold stars for their good behavior, establish meaningful rewards for those employees moving in the right direction.  And for those who are unwilling to make the effort, there should be meaningful consequences.

The Bottom Line
The better you prepare your work force for change and actively involve them in the process, the easier the change will be.

To learn more about how to prepare for organizational change, download 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership

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