5 Strategies for Mastering Change Management

A group of employees having a meeting in a bright office with plants
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Change is inevitable in business. Developing change management strategies is a key skill for leaders and managers in companies of all sizes and kinds. It’s important to effect change with as much clarity and stress reduction as possible on your team.

With change management planning, it’s vital to consider the results the transition will have on your business as a whole and your team in particular. Even if no negatives emerge from the change, the mere idea of it can cause anxiety among your staff. 

But with a little forward thinking and wise change management skills, you can make for a smoother outcome and increase others’ respect for your leadership. 

Here are five of the most effective change management strategies that can help you drive positive results.

1. Make a Plan

Planning is the key to all tasks associated with modern business, and it’s especially crucial when managing change. The first step is to explain why change is necessary. 

  • Consider what data and metrics are driving the transition to paint a clear picture of company goals and intentions.
  • Construct a roadmap that defines your organization’s current status, its history, and projections for the future. 
  • Document all the subtasks that need to be taken before and during the transition, with a tentative timeline and timely responses to employees’ concerns about the change. 

Setting forth your proposals and responses upfront will show a pattern of real thought behind the decisions you make.

2. Be Transparent & Honest

Most business changes occur in stages over a period of time. Some changes will require a sense of confidentiality, of course. But especially if proposed changes are sweeping in nature, it’s important to maintain a transparent attitude when explaining them to your team.

Explain at the outset what parts of the change have to remain confidential and why. Talk about the reasons certain information needs to be kept private. For everything else, be as clear and definitive as possible. Emphasize that team members should always feel like you’re approachable and open.

Connected to being transparent is the need to be truthful. If the proposed change is viewed as a positive one, being honest is relatively easy. But if repercussions could result as a byproduct of the change, you might feel a need to “sugarcoat” or create false optimism about the effects it will have.

Never underestimate your team members’ intelligence. Especially if they’ve been around for a while, they will become suspicious if you paint an overly rosy picture of what will happen. Be as honest as you can about potential problems that may emerge to balance out the positivity.

3. Coach & Train Your Team

Changes may result in a shakeup of your team assignments and responsibilities. It’s important to ensure your employees are not left behind in preparations for change. Set up a plan for training your team members, especially your managers, and let them know how they can get it.

If you need assistance with this step, you have resources available. Sayge’s coaching and training program is fully virtual, tailored to meet your company’s (and individuals’) needs, and proven effective.

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4. Invite Participation

Whenever possible—and it won’t always be—ask your team to take an active part in building change management strategies. Involving your team in developing change increases the likelihood of their buying in and committing to change efforts, especially if you’re transparent and honest about the transition.

Good teams offer diverse and well-rounded perspectives and can be key resources for shaping change. Establish a feedback loop to make sure their voices are being heard.

Again, depending on your role and the need for confidentiality, it may not be feasible to invite participation in all matters surrounding the change. Reflecting point number two above, be clear as to why this may be the case.

5. Monitor Change

Part of your management responsibility is to keep track of the results of all your work efforts, including major business transitions. To make sure changes go as smoothly as they can, define what metrics will inform the change and monitor how it’s going. 

Financial results are the most obvious metric, but so are:

  • Productivity
  • Customer sentiment
  • Turnover rates
  • Compliance
  • Research and development

Make these data points accessible for all stakeholders if at all possible. If you’ve set up an employee feedback loop, make sure you consider your team’s suggestions and responses in a serious light.

Get Prepared for Periods of Change

Business changes can bring about positive results for your company. But they can also produce anxiety and nervousness in your current staff members. By adhering to the suggestions in this post, team leaders and managers can foster transitions in a practical and restorative way.Trends come and go in business, but the value of a people-first approach will always be paramount. Reach out to learn more about Sayge’s platform and how it can help you prepare your key people for business transitions.