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3 Simple Steps to Manage Change and Transition

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Regardless of the unique culture of your organization, change can be hard and often unwelcome—even if the result is supposed to be positive. As change agents, either internal or external to the organization, we are challenged with the task of implementing successful change initiatives.

The change literature is filled with suggestions: “do XYZ” and your change will be successful or “do ABC” and you will achieve change success. These are often empty promises that do not deliver results. So what do you do?

Define Resistance

Starting at the beginning---accurately define the origin of the term resistance. “Resistance to change” is a misused phrase. The reality is, most of us are resistant to the inconvenience or instability that change brings about, not necessarily the change itself. Define resistance before you begin.

Support Your People

Support your people while implementing the change. In other words, while the organization is implementing the change in technology, leadership, budget, job security, sequestration, etc., you must spend at least an equal amount of time and resources focused on supporting the individuals in the organization through the change…If not, the successful implementation might never happen. The people (the individual employees) are collectively the organization.

Evaluate the Process

The most efficient way to support your people is to first understand them. This can be accomplished qualitatively, quantitatively or both. Focus on analytic diagnostic tools that answer the questions:

  • Can you support the individual employees in the organization?
  • How do I define optimal support for the employees in the organization?
  • What if they (the employees) don’t even know they need support?

Understanding ALL the individuals in your organization is potentially impossible. However, change agents (internal or external) can utilize analytic diagnostic tools to assess and then formulate a perspective that is based on the unique individuals who are collectively the organization. Examples of diagnostic tools that provide valuable information to the strategic change implementation process are:

  • Behavioral Analysis—LOE (Loss of Effectiveness) Index: A quantitative analytical tool that bridges the change gap between the employees and the organization.
  • Social Network Analysis—Yammer: An enterprise social network that brings together employees, content, conversations, and business data in a single location.
  • Performance Analysis—Gap Analysis: A tool that helps compare actual performance with potential performance for an organization.

What does all this mean? Maximize the value of your results to recognize the unique challenges for your organization with diagnostic tools that will support the people and constantly evaluate the process to insure that the information gathered is reflective of the response. If it is, fantastic. If not, access and reallocate to optimize the use of your resources.

For more in depth advice from Dr. Grady on managing change, watch Excellence in Government's recent webcast "Embracing the Season of Change: How Your Agency Can Thrive in a Time of Transition." 

(Image via Tspider/Shutterstock.com)

Dr. Victoria M. Grady is an Assistant Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., Principal Consultant at PivotPoint Business Solutions and co-author of The Pivot Point: Success in Organizational Change.

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