I’m often asked about my experience of change management but it’s such an integral part of what I do that I tend to fail to recognise it as a distinct part of my work! Following a recent conversation I thought about my experiences of project where I had introduced new services, revised existing services and helped others to implement change. Here, I draw together the key elements of managing change.
The following may be seen as the basic building blocks to be used when developing new services and restructuring existing services:
Having a robust business case will be essential if you are to get buy-in from your Board, staff and political stakeholders. Generally, people are resistant to change so your business case will have to be convincing and it should anticipate the arguments for maintaining the status quo and alternative options.
- What are you wanting to achieve?
- What are the options available to you?
- What benefits do you want to achieve?
- What are the dis-benefits likely to be (remembering the rule of unintended consequences).
- What are the risks involved?
- What is the time scale for implementation?
- What are the costs involved; does it stack up financially?
- Have you taken into account historic trends and future forecasts?
- What are the costs of change?
- What will be the payback period?
- How will you measure qualitative improvements and how will you place a value on them?
- How does the proposed change sit with your funders and the regulator?
Measuring existing performance, before change is implemented, will provide you with a baseline against which you can benchmark future performance and ensure that the benefits are achieved and demonstrable. Benchmarking against other organisations may also be a part of your business case, although true innovation comes from solutions that stand alone and have no direct comparison.
- Measure what is important to the success of the organisation.
- Measure the cost of resources, including personnel but also facilities, infrastructure and overheads.
- Measure the elements that your customers value.
- Decide on the method of evaluating qualitative performance, include key stakeholders in deciding the criteria so that you have buy-in before the measuring starts.
- Compare yourself with respected peers and competitors.
Communication, and poor communication, can be the make or break of succesful change management. There is no one way to communicate; each organisation, each team within an organisation and each individual within each team will have a preferred and, for them, practical means of communicating. Things to consider include:
- Clear project plans that summarise the process to be gone through.
- Decide on communication tools and techniques.
- Plan appropriate timing of communication events.
- Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Workstreams that enable individuals to participate and contribute.
- Identity, standpoint and information needs of the various parties involved, both within the implementation project and external stakeholders.
Implementation needs to be carefully managed to ensure that the sequence of events is properly ordered. At a high level you will need a project plan but implementation can be achieved through a number of interlinked elements:
- A strategic plan.
- Team plans.
- Cross team workstream plans.
- Individual team member action plans.
- Staff training plans.
- A method of capturing and analysing issues and risks that arise or become apparent throughout the process.
- A process to monitor implementation and ensure suitable progress.
- A means of measuring the success of implementation at each stage.
Post implementation review
Following implementation and after a period of bedding in it is helpful to undertake a review of the process and the outcome of the change. In some instances an ongoing review may be a part of the negotiated introduction of change agreed with staff or customers. You need to check for unintended consequences and address these quickly and sensitively.
This can only be a brief introduction to the elements of change management. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you through your organisation’s change please get in touch.