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Implementing business change plans

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Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change”. More than ever business leaders are faced with difficult challenges and unchartered waters as they navigate the financial and operational impact of Covid-19 and at the same time address the needs of their employees, customers and stakeholders.

Last week we looked at three of five steps that a business can undertake to ensure successful change management, (1) The need for change must be determined. (2) The development of a case for change. (3) Communicating the vision for change and the presentation of how the new implementation will improve the operations of the organization.

Implementing change plans is the fourth step. This is the change itself. Change agents must ensure everyone knows what is happening, why is it happening, how is it happening, how it affects all concerned and what role each individual play. Research has shown that when change management efforts are focused on people it creates an understanding about the reasons for change and thus foster an interest in making the change. Therefore, ensuring that all team members understand the need for change is pertinent to its success. Also, leaders must provide support and watch out for employees’ stress phases associated with change management and how these stresses can be managed. Thrive to maintain routine.

Finally, step five is to evaluate progress and celebrate success. A common mistake when evaluating change is the omission of frontline employees from the conversation. When this is done, problems that may become barriers to effective change are missed. As a leader, as soon as you can start pinpointing success in the implementation, people should be thanked appropriately and in real time, their hard work should be acknowledged, and successes celebrated.

For change management to be effective, avoid rapid large-scale change. Research has shown that wholescale change never works when it is instigated too rapidly. “The process of effective management should start slowly and gather pace. If not, you face hitting a wall of internal and external resistance,” Daniel Lock.

Remember old habits die hard. The change process is continuous. People return to their old ways quickly if they are not managed efficiently. Therefore, change management requires a strategic plan for enforcement with continuous coaching and mentoring

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