There’s an old British saying by Dr. Charles H. Spurgeon that goes, “begin as you mean to go on” and nowhere is that more meaningful than in the process of developing a Strategic Plan to manage a change initiative, created by either a merger of companies, the implementation of a new technology, or new business processes designed to optimize some aspect of your operation.
Let’s take a closer look at the first example, that of two or more companies merging their operations and motivated by the goal to leverage finances, gain market share or simply planning a growth initiative designed to offer better services to the entities’ customers. We often find at the table a duplication in management, working cultures, multiple business systems, and even disparate vision and mission statements designed to drive the direction of the respective organizations.
To simply move these two or more entities together without communicating the Why, When, and Who is affected, is viewed as corporate suicide. Never is there a more important time for senior management to clearly inform the employees of the merged companies than now. Without an understanding of what to expect, the people will often make up their own minds about what is to happen to them, how well or badly the company will do based strictly on their own imagination, coupled with what they have already experienced up to now from their primary organization. Most people will quickly jump to the conclusion that redundancy is an immediate factor and, based on the perceived duplication of work, that their job is in jeopardy and will begin to stress out or even begin to look for another position, which immediately affects performance.
The threat of losing a position, along with the implementation of some new work processes or systems, designed to bring the companies to a streamlined methodology of managing the business, you can easily create a stress level among the people that could quickly turn even the most successful of businesses into a potential casualty.
It’s imperative that as soon as you know the change is about to take place, you evaluate your desired goals behind the said change, take stock of all that will be affected by it, and design an approach that brings everybody in the organization to a point of understanding that will remove all doubt and inspire a seamless and cohesive transformation to the newly combined entity.
Change Management Starting Blocks: 12 Step Plan Before Go
- Set out the Organizational Change Management Objectives and Goals
- Determine the Change Management Team Structure
- Encourage Stakeholder Engagement
- Recruit and secure the Leadership contribution
- Develop a Communications Schedule and Format
- Determine where Training will be required
- Address the Organizational Design/Workforce
- Prepare for business as usual maintenance (depending on transition format – big bang or phased approach)
- Create a Sustainment Plan to ensure that the Change sticks
- Determine the Organizational Change Management Measurement and Metrics
- Determine the Organizational Change Management Risk and Issues Management – Align with Program Plan
- Create the Master Plan and Integrate with the Program Plan
Off and Running: Or How You’ll Get There
- Understand project mandate
- Gather project information
- Identify what is changing and analyze effort required
- Establish goals and objectives
- Evaluate business readiness
- Analyze capacity and readiness for change
- Identify stakeholders and perform stakeholder analysis
- Identify issues and risks
- Analyze business impact
- Gather future state information
- Undertake business impact analysis
- Document Organizational Change Management Strategy, review and get approvals to move forward
- Document the Plan so as to create a road map that can be referred to along the journey
No, perhaps it isn’t the easiest thing to complete without major disruptions, given you already have a day job. Hence why it’s generally viewed as a progressive idea to bring in an agnostic third-party resource, such as Watershed CI, to help Assess, Determine, and Design the correct Change Management approach. It is a well-documented fact that any business transformation initiative, when organized properly right from the beginning, with all parties thoroughly understanding the ultimate goal and their individual roles, will produce an inspired result.