Management Strategy to Help Employees Implement Changes

Stage 5: Change Management Checklist

Happy business people celebrating the success of their change implementation.
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You've finally made it to the Implementation Stage of making and managing change within your organization. Yes, you get to take action. You can if you follow these recommendations and accomplish first, the four initial stages that build employee commitment to change.

The 5th Stage in Managing Change: Implementation

In this stage, the change is managed and moves forward. Your overall goal at this implementation stage is to maintain your constancy of purpose.

You will want to check to make sure that the changes are having the desired effects.

You will need to redesign your organizational systems to support the changes. You will also need to provide recognition and rewards (positive consequences) to people who exhibit the changed behaviors.

What to Watch Out For

During the Implementation Stage, your organization will experience the greatest disequilibrium. Change inevitably disrupts existing structures that allocate power, status, and control.

The changes you make will also not go exactly as planned. Change usually takes much longer than anticipated. New people and new technology can take up to 18 months to work effectively.

What to Do

Change agents, senior managers, and managers must prepare employees for systems that will not immediately produce the desired results. During this stage, change leaders must ensure that the following activities are completed.

  • You will want to provide additional training as needed:
    —Specific technical training that was not anticipated earlier
    —Continuation of human relations skills for all that include conflict resolution, communication, listening and more.
    —Training in problem identification and problem resolution
    —Management training in leadership and in technology implementation, if necessary, and in other areas associated with the innovation and changes that you have introduced.
  • Problem-solving groups and teams are created to address any issues you are experiencing in the implementation.
  • Schedule total staff reviews of the changes and team progress periodically.
  • Help all staff members to enroll in and own the changes via involving them, encouraging their participation in planning, and making personal commitments to the contribution that you need from them to make the new systems succeed.

Make Sure Things Are Moving to Plan

During the Implementation Stage, when managing change, the organization must use problem-solving techniques to determine whether the change is having the desired effects. The leaders of the change effort must take the following steps to assure that the changes are successful.

  • Design a system to measure the effects of the change or the improvement on your work systems, people interaction, customer interaction, and any component of your organization that is involved or affected. An example is how has the change affected communication between your departments. How much extra work are the employees investing in the new work systems that were caused by the changes?
  • Address sources of continuing resistance and conflict. This is many times the employees who have not been involved in the implementation of the changes up to this point.
  • Ensure that any problems that are caused by the implementation and transition are addressed as quickly as possible. They won’t solve themselves and, if left unresolved, they will fester just under the surface. Festering problems rear their ugly heads at the most inconvenient times and undermine the success of your changes.
  • Measure the success of the change. You will want to demonstrate that the change is producing the results for which it was intended. Or, if the changes are not, you’ll want to make course corrections along the way.
  • Ensure that the changes are actually solving the problems that they were designed to address. Your efforts expended in measuring the effects of the changes will help you with this initiative.
  • Provide feedback to all members of your organization on the progress that is happening and the current status of the change efforts.
  • Respond rapidly to any problems that are identified when you share feedback about the progress of the change. Your employees are in the best position to identify the problems and pain points that may undermine the success of your implementation of the changes.
  • Complete and fine tune the changes and the systems that you are using for measuring the effects of the change on your organization and on your employees.

The Bottom Line

If you incorporate these measures when you are in the Implementation Stage of your change efforts, you will increase the probability that you will effectively apply the changes within your organization. It doesn't get any better than that. Missing any of these success factors undermines your chances for a positive outcome.