I figured it would be good for people to have a clear and concise best practices methodology for implementing change!
With that being said several near universal steps are crucial to the success of any change initiative. There are certainly variations and numerous academics who have worked on the theory of change, but putting in the logical contemplation on such change initiatives will usually result in something along these lines:
1. Establish The Sense of Urgency!
This is crucial as often times if something does not appear imminent or critical people just aren’t moved. They don’t see the need to act ‘now’ and that can create powerful resistance in getting change to move along smoothly let alone sink in.
2. Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition or Team of Change agents.
This is important for if you don’t have people working together with both experience dealing with change ie. being themselves an agent of change within their own lives (‘balanced psyche’) and the ability to manage such a change initiative then you will probably find your change falling short and stuck useless in your back pocket. It also helps if said coalition has some power players within it, for having the power to initiate change can assist greatly. Regardless of power, these folks should be proponents of the change and thus consist of cheerleaders and role models of said change.
3. Creating a Vision.
If there is no vision, your change initiative will likely fall short of whatever it is trying to achieve. This is because people need something they can get behind, something they can attach to and feel apart of and recognize with. That being said your vision must be crystal clear and within reason for if people can’t understand it or be convinced it will work, they will never be fully behind it and may ultimately end up adding resistance or breaking apart your coalition.
4. Communicating the Vision.
That being said it is of utmost important that once your vision is created that you communicate it effectively. If you come out with a weak ‘war cry’ what warriors will follow you into the fray of change? Those who will be ineffective at championing said change. You could lose some of your supporters, and your guiding coalition could drift away. This would be a devastating loss in the tides of change before you’ve even begun. This is why strong communication is critical. This is also an opportunity to listen to your resistors and see if you can gain from their perspective or even provide them with information about your vision and thus turn them into an ally.
5. Empowering Others to Act on the Vision.
Having a great and crystal clear vision is not enough. If your supporters have no means of implementing it, then you have left them powerless and without any hope of succeeding. You must provide to them the tools for which they can begin to implement it. Without this they may fall victim to infighting as they begin to panic and can see no clear means of victory. This could be training in dealing with those who might oppose the movement for change, or methods of keeping everything organized so that work can be managed. Ultimately you must empower those you hope to lead to victory with whatever means you reasonably can to give them the best chance of success.
6. Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins.
Since step is critical in any initiative that hopes to win the war. You must make certain that there are smaller steps that can be achieved that lead up to the ultimate goal. This assures a good morale within the camp and allows for momentum to build. If people can feel the change happening, the energy moving onward and upward, then they will work harder to finish what they started. This can also be of great use to silence or convert more resistors and neigh sayers. The less resistance on the other end, the easier it is to get to the goal.
7. Consolidating Improvements and Producing still more Change.
You will make change happen, but once it does you need to know when to take a step back and re-examine what you have already affected. Things may need to be re-shaped before moving forward. Remember you just did all this work to initiate change which you plan to solidify. Do you really want to get to the end and realize you solidified something that will now require an entirely new change initiative to fix? From here you have to keep your head up and remember you aren’t done yet. There is still more change to produce.
8. Institutionalizing New Methods.
If it doesn’t stick then you’ve wasted all the efforts. This is the phase where you go down and make sure every thing is going the way it was intended. Have we changed? Yes. Then lets keep doing what we are doing until it becomes the way of things.
*9. Performance Measurement
If you can’t measure your change then have you actually altered anything? Probably not. How do you know when you’ve succeeded and the movement has accomplished its goals? When someone says, “This is the way we do things here.”