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March 28, 2011

10 Things I Know About... Managing Change

10. Step One

First, assess your organization’s readiness for change. What’s the degree of flexibility, adaptability and innovation in the organization.

9. Be Prepared

Change occurs in stages. Accept it and plan for it. When we let go of old behavior and attempt to adopt the new behavior, it’s difficult. Your staff will need reassurance.

8. Cast A Wide Net

Include everyone in all the stages of change and assume everyone will be affected because they will be, directly or indirectly. The effects of real change are universal.

7. Define The Why

Communicate clear reasoning for what’s driving the change. Test it to be sure people understand it, buy it and will support it before rolling out the message companywide.

6. Communicate Up And Down

Communicate before, during and after the change. Hold nothing back; openness and honesty are keys to successful change. Create an ongoing communication plan.

5. Be Forthcoming

Assuming people don’t need to know or can’t handle the truth will backfire — it always does. Real, lasting change is built on honesty and mutual respect.

4. Include Customers

When change touches the customer, and it most certainly will, include them in the design and implementation. Ask, will this change improve the customer experience? Ignore your customers at your own peril.

3. Carrots, Sticks And Cake

Balance accountability with rewards. Clearly define the new performance expectations. Establish rewards that are meaningful and personal.

2. Encourage Risk Taking

Change is all about risk. Give people the space to try and fail. Ensure the political climate allows for experimentation without negative consequences.

1. Lessons From DaVinci

Paint a clear, detailed picture of the future with no abstracts that require expert interpretation. Everyone wants and needs to know how the changes will affect them. 

Shelley F. Hall is principal and managing director for Catalytic Management LLC of Stow. She can be reached at

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