managing organizational change need a useful route map?

managing organizational change in 8 steps


Look I know it is not as easy as step 1 to 8, and yes, this is a bit of a simplification. However it is a convenient way to illustrate the route map for managing organizational change.  I can’t take the credit for developing this model; it is more of a fusion of a number of models and methodologies I have used over the years.


“We stand on the shoulders of giants “and all that.


I have found this model to be a useful checklist and planning tool to help ensure you cover the most important components of organizational change management.

So excuses over, here we go.

Step 1: Establish some urgency

This is critical for organizational change management, and concerns 3 fundamental questions:

1. “Why change right now”

Is there a crisis? Is there a golden opportunity? Is the timing and people right for change?  Whatever the reason or reasons refine your thoughts down so you can articulate them in 5 minutes or less.

2. “How will changing improve things?”

We are all hard wired to expect hassle and strife from major change. In fact most resistance to change comes from the anticipation of change. So help people balance their perspectives by understanding the benefits.

3. What happens if we don’t change?

Find other reasons to support the organizational change by being clear on the impacts and costs of not changing.


Step 2: Build a coalition.

Sometimes called a guiding coalition this is about spreading he word and broadening the thinking. It is also about on boarding people to the idea of change. Start small 3-5 influential leaders, managers, technical experts and get them thinking and talking about the possibility of organizational change. Over time this group will grow to 20, 30 even 50 people as the change plans are developed and the process unfolds.

Step 3 Create a vision

It may be counter intuitive but I have learned you start a visioning process by reflecting on the journey from the past and agreeing some of the themes and critical decisions. You then develop a consensus of where things are at right now. Only then are you ready to take a group into a future orientated visioning process. However you do it you must create something on one piece of paper that can then be shared. This is also a critical component of organizational change management.


Step 4 Share and refine Vision

Your vision has to become their vision so provide opportunities for other people in the organisation to engage with the new vision and maybe add to it and refine it. Use presentations and workshops and team meetings to foster debate. Be prepared to bypass middle managers (nothing personal) and go straight to the troops. (Don’t forget about those middle managers though) Provide linkages with strategy and the big picture for people. The key to managing organizational change at this stage is to create a buzz and some excitement and novelty. 



Step 5 Empower others

Create opportunities to get more people involved in the managing organizational change effort. Use project scoping work and think tanks to get people involved. Start delegating change work.


Step 6 Planning and impact

Develop work streams and 12 -24 month plans. Identify and accelerate action on quick wins. You need results to help foster momentum and demonstrate commitment so allocate quick wins to a particular manager to action.


Step 7 Implement and consolidate

This is a balancing act, drive for the benefits from agreed projects and look for follow on opportunities to extend and bed in some of the improvements. Do project and learning reviews to identify yet more opportunities. Monitor employee morale and communicate progress and benefits.

More on dealing with change here

Find out more about resistance to change

more on managing organizational change

Step 8 Embed new approaches

Make the change as much “business as usual” as possible. Change processes and systems to reinforce the managing of the organizational change. It is critical to align people processes like selection, promotion, remuneration and training to provide consistent messages (not mixed) about what is important right now. Key here is to avoid back sliding so find ways to monitor that.  


So there you have it, a route map of 8 steps to managing organizational change. Not a silver bullet perhaps but nevertheless a useful series of signposts. 

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