How to Succeed at Corporate Change

A compass pointing to change to show how to Succeed at Corporate Change

Succeed at Corporate Change
Corporate change is not rocket science.  In fact, to succeed at corporate change is mainly based on common sense…being clear about what employees have to gain, specifying the behaviors that will lead them to the desired end state, and providing frequent feedback on progress.  But all too many organizations get bogged down by complicating things instead of creating clear and compelling reasons for change, a positive vision of the future, and how to realize it on a day-by-day basis.

Step Back
Anyone who has successfully raised a responsible child knows what it takes to improve behavior.  Let’s say you want to help your child become better organized with their studies.  They care about their grades and want to improve but are constantly losing homework assignments and forgetting dates of exams.

As a parent, it is your job to support better study habits.  First of all you need to communicate how the change will help and why it’s worth the effort.  Secondly, work together to set up a system to support achieving their goals – whereby all school work is relegated to their desk – not scattered around – and there is a regularly updated assignment calendar. Finally, schedule a weekly review of assignments met and completed as well as a look at the upcoming week.  The gain? Better grades.  The behaviors?  Better tracking and communication.  The progress?  A steady march toward the honor roll.

Changing Behaviors in the Workplace
It’s not that difficult to extrapolate this scenario to the work environment.  In fact our hands-on experience tells us that there are three major factors that contribute significantly to successful corporate change:  effective communication, modeling and specifying the behaviors that will contribute to change, and holding employees accountable for the desired behaviors.

Three Ways to Succeed at Corporate Change

1. Open and Frequent Communication
Not only does the entire workforce need to understand and buy into the necessity for change but they also need to be kept up-to-date on its progress. Senior managers must regularly communicate on why the change is necessary, how it will improve the future of both the company and the employees, and how the organization as a whole plans to proceed.

2. Specific Roles and Responsibilities
The corporate change needs to be translated into specific behaviors for each and every employee. How will they need to change their day-to-day behaviors?  Will they be assigned different roles and new responsibilities? What kind of support will there be to help them to meet the new challenge?

3. Accountability
Without accountability, change initiatives suffer. As the company makes progress in changing behaviors, make sure you coach employees along the new path and act quickly whenever you come upon negative behaviors or attitudes.  Proportionately reward positive progress and provide fair consequences for resistors.

The Bottom Line
Corporate change may be difficult but it is possible.  To succeed at corporate change, keep it simple…be open and consistent in your communication, be specific in how each employee will contribute, and track/monitor/reward progress toward the goal.

To learn more about how to succeed at corporate change, download 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership now.

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