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Change Management Idea Bank

        posted by , May 21, 2013

Change management is the discipline of championing organizational change. It's focused on the people side of change.

The following A-Z list of change management techniques may help you to drive change at your organization.

Anticipate Resistance

People tend to resist change. Anticipate resistance and make plans to break it down with leadership, communication, performance management and reward strategies.

Ask Why?

Change management is an effective way to pursue aggressive change. It's important to ask yourself once in a while — why? Efficiently implementing changes that are a mistake is worse than doing nothing at all.

Celebrate Milestones

Maintain momentum for change by celebrating milestones.

Change Leaders

Establish programs for change leadership to create a network of leaders at every level of your organization. Task these leaders with creating a culture of aggressive change. Support and develop leaders. Recognize and reward those leaders who successfully contribute to change.

Clear Expectations

Set clear expectations for behaviors, norms, habits, mission and objectives.

Continuous Recognition

Develop a leadership culture that recognizes achievements and improvements big and small. The words thank you go a long way to maintaining employee engagement.

Corporate Culture

Work towards a corporate culture that embraces aggressive change. In many cases, change management and innovation management are the primary drivers of corporate culture.

Deconstruct Fear

Fear, uncertainty and doubt is a primary cause of resistance to change. Fear is deconstructed by facing it with open communication.

Delegate Authority

Authority is an important tool of change. When authority is locked up in the possession of a few people who aren't engaged with the day-to-day challenges of change — it goes to waste. Optimally, authority is delegated to those leaders who are closest to change.

Disrupt Complacency

When employees fall into a complacent routine they may defend it by resisting change. They may become blinded to possibilities. They may become incapable of innovation.

Disrupt complacency to keep your employees sharp. Avoid keeping your talent in the same position for too many years. Provide opportunities for advancement and career changes.

Embrace Chaos

The desire for a certain, controlled environment causes people to reject change. Employees take the inevitable chaos and uncertainty that surrounds change as a sign that change is failing. When your employees lose confidence in a strategy, your changes will fail.

Create a culture that embraces uncertainty and chaos. Set the expectation that unforeseen events are the norm — not the exception. Develop leaders who can handle rough waters and who can make decisions in uncertain contexts.

Establish Accountability

Make accountabilities and responsibilities for change crystal clear. There's no room for hands-off tactics in an organization that prioritizes change.

Establish Principles

Develop change management principles that form the basis for your corporate culture.

Expected Perseverance

Many employees get in the habit of working until they hit an obstacle. They use the obstacle as an excuse to put things on hold. Expected perseverance is a corporate culture that expects people to overcome obstacles. It's a culture that has a low tolerance for excuses. When a door is locked, employees need to find the key.

Feedback Sessions

People who feel consulted are more likely to support change. Set the expectation that sponsors of change hold feedback sessions for all stakeholders at the onset of change. Sponsors defend their change and collect feedback. Feedback is actioned as appropriate. Results are communicated to demonstrate commitment to consultation.

Influence Over Authority

Commitment to change can't be forced. People may comply to authority but their hearts and minds won't be in it. If you want employees to be engaged you need to influence them.


Innovation is creating something new of value. When your changes are innovative, employees tend to be motivated. When you're struggling to emulate your competitors, employees tend to less engaged.

Lead By Example

If you want your employees to adopt a norm, behavior, habit or mission — make sure your leaders do it first. If leadership is secretive, it's ineffective to tell your employees to be open with information.

Learn From Failure

Create an environment that deals with failure in a positive way. Otherwise, your people will retract into their shells and refuse to take risks. A blame avoiding culture will emerge that will derail change.

Maintain Momentum

Change often begins with much fanfare. People get energized around the change. However, with time this energy fades. Maintain momentum by changing at a fast past and achieving frequent milestones. Continually renew motivation with incremental successes and celebration.

Manage Knowledge

Knowledge is the fuel for change. Don't let it go to waste. Capture and manage knowledge to accelerate change.

Market A Mission

Develop a mission and vision for change. Use marketing strategies to gain acceptance and motivation for the mission.

Open Communication

Establish an open door policy that allows open communication between levels in your organization. Set the expectation that open communication is a priority. Create forums and tools for communication.

Open Information

Share information and numbers openly to build support for change. Employees know when they're being kept in the dark. Worse, information tends to leak and spread by rumor. Create a genuine partnership with employees by informing them. Ensure that change leaders do the same.


When aggressive change is your goal its sometimes helpful to challenge your people to achieve beyond all reasonable expectations. Avoid conservative, mediocre goals.

Ownership Culture

Create a culture in which everyone owns change.

Paint The Future

Change can be a painful process. The reason for change is to get to a future that's better. Paint vivid pictures of your future to improve employee motivation. People like to be part of a compelling future.

Performance Examples

Communicate vivid stories of what winning performance means using examples from your organization. Create awareness that your employees are consistently being recognized for achievements.

Performance Management

Organizational change management is often an executive management or human resources function that's closely tied to performance management. Contributing to organizational change is the primary component of performance for many employees.

Personal Fit

People don't resist change. They resist being changed. ~ Peter M. Senge
Corporate culture is a fundamental change management strategy. Organizations with common habits, behavior, norms, symbols and mission act together to achieve change. You don't want your corporate culture to become a suppressive force that calls for absolute conformity.

Ensure that your corporate culture is flexible enough to allow for personal fit. People have different personal challenges, styles and life situations. Allow your employees to work according to their own style. Support them to balance work and life demands (e.g. working from home when their child is sick).

Quick Communication

Organizations have a tendency to sit on information until it's absolutely necessary to reveal it. This is often a mistake. Get in the habit of sharing information in real time.

Recognize Defeat

Change management is mostly about driving change aggressively forward. This needs to be balanced with approaches such as recognizing changes that are doomed to failure. Aggressively driving forward a doomed initiative is a bad idea.

Reward Agents of Change

Large changes make and break careers. Reward those employees who emerge as agents of change.

Service Oriented Organizations

If a team is underperforming make them a service that's measured by a service level agreement. If your organization is working on best efforts — it may be time to formalize your interfaces.


Develop a culture of storytelling. Stories can become a powerful part of your culture and brand symbols.

Team Building

Employees who have a strong sense of team belonging are more productive and engaged. Regular social activities build stronger teams. Team building events that mix-up departments and teams are helpful to breakdown political barriers to change.

Team Over Talent

Talented individuals are valuable to your organization. However, if they use that talent to disrupt change or justify toxic behavior they'll destroy your chance of establishing a productive team. Value your culture over individual talent. Be tolerant of people's individual styles but set principles that are not to be disregarded.

Transparent Decisions

Avoid mysterious decisions. Give your employees transparency into your decision making processes.

Trust & Check

Complex change can't be centrally managed. Delegate change to trusted leaders and check results.


Change leaders communicate and socialize the urgent need for change. When your people understand the competitive pressures that drive change, they'll rally behind aggressive approaches.

Workload Leveling

One of the reasons that people resist change is that programs, projects and initiatives often end up overworking everyone. Many organizations leave workers idle for long periods of time and then suddenly ramp work up to an unsustainable pace at the height of a project. Workload leveling is a strategy to flatten these peaks and valleys of workload to establish a regular, sustainable pace.

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