Change Management Best Practices

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FountainBlue’s October 21 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of ‘Change Management Best Practices’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

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Change happens. And it happened to our panelists for this session. There were illnesses, client and executive obligations, personal conflicts, etc., So this month’s panel did not go as planned.

But our panelists persevered. And I picked up the baton as well, joining in the fray. Below is a summary of thoughts and suggestions on how to best manage through change.

Be Bold and Strategic

  • Be bold and brazen about the changes you can facilitate. It’s the only way to make BIG changes happen.
  • Make a plan, but don’t be married to the plan, for it will not go as expected. 
  • Pivot and shift based on how the plan is progressing. 
  • Be clear on what you know and what you don’t know as you plan-fully and strategically embrace necessary changes.
  • Manage the adopters, the naysayers, the protestors, and all other personas as you lead through change. 

Build a Network

  • Connect with a host of others who can support you through changes. It will help you have the courage, perspectives and insights to navigate change, which can otherwise be very lonely. 
  • Share fully and candidly with trusted others in collaboration to navigate necessary changes.
  • Help the Stars shine brighter, the Cows (cash cows) keep producing, the Dogs find new paths, and the Unknowns get clarity on their fit with the product/service/organization. 

Be Empathetic and Supportive

  • Be empathetic and supportive to those who will not fit in when change happens. Delivering a message with grace and constructive advice and support will help them land well, while also helping your team carry on with positive and constructive energy. 
  • Be that sounding board for others as they navigate change. 
  • Create a safe space for all can share the challenges and opportunities around necessary changes. 

Change is not generally easy, but these change-management steps might help you navigate change proactively.

  1. Be clear on your values and your value-add.
  2. Create and/or sign on to a corporate vision which fits your values and where you can contribute in a way which is impactful.
  3. Accept that changes will happen, and that conflict will be inevitable.
  4. Collaborate with all parties to align on principles and goals while agreeing on, delivering on, and communicating business results. 
  5. Navigate the storm around the change with direct, transparent, empathetic conversations with the goal of clarity and connection.
  6. Align thoughts, words and actions around the change.
  7. Own up if there are flubs in the process, if there were errors and problems caused by changes (or because change didn’t happen earlier), and while continuing to build momentum toward that positive change.
  8. Make change not-personal. Make it about business imperatives and the metrics/data. 
  9. Support everyone as they navigate change and keep celebrating incremental successes. 

These steps are not necessarily sequential and don’t lead to a specific end goal, for change is an ongoing process.

The question in the end is not whether change will happen, but which change will happen to who/what and what can we do to navigate these changes.


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