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Managing Your Change with Ease: Getting Employees to Not Only Embrace Change but Ask For It!

By Kay Graham-Gilbert


Is it difficult to get some team members to make changes?

Is the success of a new initiative in jeopardy due to reluctant participants?


It is no revelation that not everyone welcomes change, particularly when it requires that they perform their job differently. However, for an organization to run at optimum effectiveness, the efforts of everyone are required. In fact that is a key element to top organizational performance -- everyone working in concert.  Not merely everyone knowing the goals of the organization, what is expected of them, and how to do their job, but performing with ease. What else is necessary to master the change that results from process improvement programs, technology initiatives, mergers/acquisitions etc.?

Look at change management from three vantage points: (1) managing the people involved in making the change a reality, (2) managing the change itself, and (3) managing the results. Of course, they all work together, but require different attention.


Managing the people involved in making the change a reality.


This is the most difficult part of change management because you are dealing with different personalities, individual motivations, cross-functional groups, multiple authority levels and groups etc. Trying to get everyone's buy-in at the time of initiating a change or even while developing the modifications is not easy.  Truly successful change management is born from developing an environment where change is the norm.  An environment that nurtures and welcomes fresh ideas and eagerness to be the best. Downplay the “change” and emphasize the benefits.  Many initiatives are doomed to failure at the outset because of all the fanfare surrounding the project. If change becomes second nature there is no need to motivate employees with elaborate project kick-offs and introductions. 


Managing the change itself


Keeping on top of implementing a change can consume much of your time. You may be distracted while dealing with the “people side” of change, but it should not sway you from the task at hand. Not being diligent in the proper execution of the project will alter the results.

The key components to managing the change itself are not normal project management tasks such as written plans, schedules, resource allocation  -- all of which are essential. The leading drivers to successful change are:


·          Flexibility  The willingness and ability to make alterations to the plan.  As you progress through an implementation, you continue to learn and need to be able to make adjustments.

·          Resourceful  The ability to obtain and juggle the information, people, tools and supplies required for the change to be successful.

·          Thoroughness  Going the distance and not taking shortcuts.  Ignore pressures to speed the process or eliminate steps, when it is not wise to do so.

·          Diligence  Staying on track and not being sidetracked by reluctant participants, inter-department conflicts, minor setbacks and all other issues that are likely to arise.


Managing the results

Now that you have successfully gotten everyone on board and the change has been initiated, it is now time to move on to the next improvement.  Not so fast!  You should always have your eye open to the next opportunity for enhancement.  Most likely ideas were generated during the current change, but remember you are not looking for short-term improvements. You want to ensure you get the most from each improvement.Here are some questions to continually ask to ensure the correct results are obtained:


·          What have we done about the obstacles we encountered?  Did we implement a short-term fix or is there more work to be done?

·          Have the outcomes been consistent?

·          Do all necessary personnel understand the purpose of the change?

·          Have we shared what we have learned about the task at hand, the people involved, the success of the strategy, timing issues etc.?

·          Have the "pluses" from this effort been leveraged to other areas in the organization?


Managing these 3 areas diligently will result in employees initiating change not trying to dodge change. The first step is to stop using the word “change” and focus on the positive aspects of the initiative specific to individual employees and departments. As a leader in the organization, your job will become much easier and effective once you have achieved success in these areas.




Copyright © 2004, Kay Graham-Gilbert


Kay Graham-Gilbert has extensive experience in creating effective operations. Receive your Free report on business growth strategies at