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The Secret to Change Management


{#/pub/images/ChangeManagement.jpg}By Julie Brignac, President, QuantumSix Solutions, Inc.


5 Critical Elements to Successful Change Management Programs

The phrase ‘Change Management’ has almost become a cliché in the corporate world.  Many companies and consultants claim to be experts on the subject, but indeed, it's doubtful that any have become masters. Why would this be the case?  Because every company, culture, environment and situation is different, there is not just one common recipe for Change Management that applies to all.


So what can you do to implement a Change Management strategy that works for your organization? You must start by understanding the critical elements of Change Management and then formulate your plan accordingly.


I can share a recent experience of mine that may help outline those elements.  We just finished an assignment working with a major utility company.  Their goal was to develop a one-day training course that would help support their recent Business Improvement program efforts.  It was interesting to work with them at this stage of their journey, and develop a unique course that would be effective.


As usual, I learn something new every time we work with a client.  In this case, it was interesting to see where their culture was in terms of driving change, and implementing processes that were intended to transform the way that they do business.


I learned a few things that can be helpful to others when considering a culture shift in your organization. 


Here are 5 Critical Elements of Change Management that you can use to set your own unique course towards change.


1) The journey has to be mapped out as a much larger exercise than developing a one-day training course to implement change.

  • Developing the material to share within the organization that provides tools and techniques is important.  However, it is equally important that a larger strategy and subsequent action plans accompany the expectations set in the training course.  Make sure that the team knows what leadership expects them to do in driving culture change when they leave the training class.  And have a follow-up plan to present at that time.



2) Don't make the class or initial roll-out discussion too long in length. 

  • For this course with our client, we elected to split it up in two four-hour sessions that will be held one month apart.  The point is to teach them tools and techniques in the first session, then after a month has passed, discuss their experiences in the second session: what they did, what they learned and how they learned it.  Sometimes sharing experiences is more powerful than any tools can be.



3)  Get the right people in the room for the first session so they can be the forerunners for future training.

  • People learn from leaders, and leaders lead by example.  Choose the first session participants carefully based on who will make the biggest impact and set the best example for the organization.  Make sure whomever facilitates these sessions has the ability to create the dialog to bring these leaders and their experiences into the discussion.



4) Conduct a pilot session.

  • Once you develop your training, conduct a pilot session to check your timing of the class delivery, presentation techniques, etc.  It will be well worth the time.  The better planned you are, the less people will feel like they are wasting their own time and the more engaged they will be in your discussion.



5)  Establish clear metrics to monitor the effect of your Change Management program.

  • To ensure the organization does not lose focus or forget after all the training that occurred, make sure you develop and roll out a tracking system for the changes you are expecting from your program.  This should be high level and can include sub level elements as well.  By making this visible you can keep the organization on track and modify your message to motivate your team in follow-up training sessions.



In the end, if these five simple guidelines are followed, a specific Change Management plan can be built and executed effectively.  And remember one last item - give it time.  As you may have heard, change doesn't happen overnight.  It takes a long time to shift an organization successfully.  But, keep at it - it can happen and always happens for the better of the organization.


Written by Julie Brignac,
Purchasing & Supply Chain Expert for ManagingAmericans.com, President, QuantumSix Solutions, Inc.


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