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22 Change Management Principles

        posted by , March 07, 2013

Change has its enemies.
~ Robert Kennedy
Change isn't easy. People tend to resist it.

Change management is often painful, political, emotional and error-prone.

To succeed at change management you should take advantage of every tool and technique that will ease the way.

One powerful tool, that's often overlooked is change management principles.

Definition: Change Management Principles

Change Management Principles are a set of strategies, techniques and ethics for managing change that are agreed upon by an organization, program, project or team.

Your change management principles will be unique to your corporate culture, industry, competitive pressures, etc.

The following principles can dramatically improve your change management results when they receive strong support from executive leadership.

Change Alignment

1. Change management is critical to our strategy and tactical objectives.
Change is the basis of our continued competitive health, reputation and results.

2. Change management is incorporated into decision making, program design and project planning across the organization.
Change management isn't an afterthought. Change management is involved in early stages of decision making processes. Programs and projects incorporate change management.

3. Change management is a human activity that is aligned with our organization's culture, values and people.
We recognize that human factors are key to the success or failure of change. Our people, culture and values guide our approach to change.

Change Leadership & Ownership

4. Change requires the commitment of executive leadership to succeed.
Change requires executive commitment to be successful. All changes must be approved by the executive team or their delegates.

5. Leaders are accountable for change.
Accountable leaders are identified for each change. Accountable leaders have the appropriate level of authority to drive the change forward.

6. Leadership will set clear direction for all changes.
Changes will be clearly documented and communicated by executive sponsors or their delegates.

7. Changes have owners.
Owners are identified for each change. Owners are responsible for implementing the change.

Commitment & Buy-in

8. Leadership drives commitment to change.
Change is unsettling, leaders support people throughout the change process. Leaders will ensure that the organization commits to each change.

9. Stakeholders are consulted.
Stakeholders for each change are consulted and provided with an opportunity to provide their input.

10. Leaders address objections to change.
Leaders will address objections that stakeholders voice.

11. Change impact is assessed for each change.
The impact of each change will be assessed. Assessment will include a realistic evaluation of the organization's readiness and capacity to change.

Change Communication

12. Change is widely communicated to the organization.
Change is communicated to all who might be impacted.

13. Change communications will be clear, comprehensive, candid and timely.
We endeavor to communicate all changes as clearly and accurately as possible. We continually improve our communication methods. Change communication will be timely.

14. Over-communicating change is preferred to under-communicating.
We recognize that effective communication is a significant change management challenge. Over-communicating change is preferable to under-communicating.

15. Change communication is two-way.
Employees have a opportunity to ask questions about change, provide feedback and voice concerns to leaders.

Change Processes

16. Change management is based on standardized processes.
Standardized processes are the basis for change management, continuous improvement and employee empowerment.

17. Change management processes are continually improved.
Change management processes are reviewed regularly to identify lessons learned and opportunities for improvement.

18. Change requires planning due diligence.
A plan and schedule is developed for each change that's appropriate to the complexity of the change.

19. Training requirements for each change will be developed and implemented.
All changes will assess the need for employee and partner training and development.

20. Changes are continually re-evaluated.
Change plans, schedules and assessments aren't static and inflexible. They are re-evaluated on a continual basis as issues or new data arises.

Change Culture

21. Our corporate culture embraces responsible change driven by innovation.
We recognize that change is critical to our success as an organization. Change is difficult but we are up to the challenge.

22. Our culture rewards individuals who drive change.
Employees are expected to support change management. Employees who make significant contributions to critical change are recognized and rewarded.

23. Change management is a results focused activity.
Change management will avoid becoming self-focused (change management for the sake of change management), overbearing or rigid. Change management is focused on delivering business results.

This post in an installment in the ongoing series of articles called Management: The Missing Manual

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