Nobody likes change…especially in organizations.
Worse yet, nobody likes being told what to do without an explanation or a chance at discussing why the change is happening. But as organizations grow and add more employees, change is inevitable and when it’s implemented incorrectly, it can have catastrophic effects.
Assuming the organization has done its homework on what the change is and why it’s needed, the next step is to implement it in the organization and with the employees. This is where things get tricky.
One successful distinction of organizations that are successful with change implementation is that they have a deep understanding of their employees and a strong culture. If your organization already believes in continuous improvement, you’re on your way to successfully implement change.
How do I get to understand my employees better?
One popular way that is widely used at large organizations is to have every employee complete a DiSC assessment which aids in explaining human behavior.
What’s a DiSC assessment?
The everything DiSC model is a common language that allows a person to better understand themselves as well as those they interact with. Participants that go through the assessment are able to use this knowledge and understanding to reduce conflict and improve working relationships. In a nutshell, it helps you separate the person from the behavior. Most people are good but at times their behavior is bad. The DiSC assessment helps you understand why that is by identifying trigger points and personality traits.
How does a DiSC assessment of your employees help with change implementation? By helping improve teamwork and making conflict more productive which is critical when you are implementing change.
Another strategy to help with change implementation is to utilize the 4 learning styles of adult learners. Since we all learn differently, the more you can incorporate these styles into your overall strategy, the higher the chances you have of getting your team on board.
What are the 4 learning styles of adult learners?
Reading/Writing – These types of learners understand things that are written down. When you are rolling out something new in the company, make sure to have written documentation that explains the change.
Visual – A visual learner likes to see images, graphs, charts, or other types of visual representation of the topic. If possible, include visuals in your change strategy to better illustrate the transition.
Auditory – Auditory learners like presentations, lectures, or group discussions. Part of your strategy should include a group discussion and presentation to review the change strategy that is about to take place.
Kinesthetic – A hands-on approach is the best way to connect with this type of learner. The more they can experience the topic, the better it is for them. If possible, create a group activity related to the change that your organization is going to implement.
How do I create a strategy to roll out change?
Last year I read a book called “Our Iceberg Is Melting” Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter. While the story is fictional, it does an incredible job of telling a story about how to do well under stress in times of extreme uncertainty. One of the big takeaways for me was how to assemble a strategy to implement change in your organization.
8-step change implementation strategy
- Create a sense of urgency – Don’t be chicken little (the sky is falling!), but make sure your team understands the importance of the change that is needed in the company. Explain your “why”.
- Assemble a team – Don’t do this alone. Put together a small team to own the change and the implementation.
- Develop the change vision and strategy – Tell a story of what the future will be like if this goes smoothly so that everyone can see the benefits. Outline the steps that are going to take place in order for the change to transition into the company’s process.
- Communicate for understanding and buy-in – This one is very important. Make sure every aspect of the change is being communicated in order to get buy-in from your employees. Part of this will take place in step number 1 but it’s important to give your employees time to give feedback and ask questions.
- Empower your team to get involved – The more involved your team gets, the more buy-in they will have.
- Produce early wins – Early wins boost confidence and also produce good habits.
- Continuous improvement – Not everyone is going to accept the change right away and that’s ok. Foster a culture of continuous improvement so that failure is not an option.
- Make it stick – Set up weekly meetings and spend 30 minutes discussing how the change implementation is going. What’s working and what’s not working? This habit of open discussion will make the change stick.
By better understanding your employees, creating a strategy, and adopting the learning styles into your strategy, you can have a higher chance of being successful at implementing change with your team and improving the culture within your organization.