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5 Ways to Boost the Success of Business Change

Every business needs to be able to adapt and change to survive and the frequency of change is increasing.

We invest a lot of time, energy, money and resources into implementing changes but Towers Watson found only 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term. So what increases the success rate of change? Here are five things that can make your change management initiative a success.

Understand WHY you are making the change and share this

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it. But when we consider that nearly 60% of business change projects do not fully meet their objectives it makes us rethink how clearly we understand the whys behind the change.

Rather than taking the objectives at face value we need to keep asking why.

Why do we want to achieve that objective? How is it going to impact our staff, customers or processes? You need to really dig deep to uncover the real motivations fully. Then it’s vital this is shared with everyone involved. It isn’t enough for the managers overseeing the project to understand the why, every member of staff involved or affected should know exactly what you want to achieve especially as they are experts in what they do and can often suggest different and more effective changes to reach the objectives.

Involve staff in the change process

The importance of ensuring staff understand the motivations for the change are crucial in involving them in the project. McKinsey found that the success of a change initiative rockets to a massive 71% when frontline staff take the initiative to drive change.

Your staff will give you a different perspective and a deeper insight allowing solutions to be well thought out, rounded and practical.

In addition to this the successful implementation lies on their shoulders. If staff don’t see the need or benefit of the change then they won’t adopt the new ways of working.

Be visible

Throughout the change process the managers involved should be visible to staff and approachable to lead them through the changes. If staff see managers support the change and if they feel comfortable to ask questions and make suggestions then they become more engaged and involved with the change process leading to greater success.

Lead by example

All good managers lead by example, displaying the traits they want to see and during the change process this is more important than ever. McKinsey found that transformations were 5.3 times more likely to be successful when senior leaders role model the behaviour changes they were asking their staff to make.

Acknowledge the commitment and pain

Change often requires frontline staff to learn new processes or systems and when things don’t go to plan they are the ones that feel the most pain. So if there are teething troubles admit them, if you don’t staff will feel unsupported and let down and when this happens the changes often become unsuccessful.

Be open about any challenges, thank staff for their ongoing commitment and talk to them to find out what additional support is needed. Take the time to visit staff to talk to them as many appreciate this personal touch and I’ve always found cakes are very welcomed.

For successful and long lasting change you need your staff to care and be involved in the change. Managers need to ensure staff understand the what, the why and the how of the change process and this can only be done through effective communication, involvement and being visible. Lead by example, be invested in the process and understand any pain points the change process creates and look to resolve them as quickly as possible. Success or failure lies with your staff so make sure they are on board.

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