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5 Steps to Organizational Change – Step 4: Prepare for Change

Posted Sunday, December 18th, 2016

In Part 4 of a 5 part series, Darwin co-founder Dr. Jim Rae discusses the critical steps required for managing organizational change successfully.

Close-up of businessman holding pen with opened book at desk.

Assess, Develop, Align…Prepare!

In the first three parts of our series, we used Darwin’s Change Management Platform© to:

  • Assess our hypothetical organization’s change-readiness,
  • Develop an accurate, responsive Stakeholder Engagement Plan, and
  • Align middle managers to support our change initiative.

Now, we prepare our front line stakeholders for imminent change…

Project Wrap Up

As our hypothetical project enters its final few steps – UAT, deploying to the production environment, readying the Help Desk – you have been actively engaging stakeholders through communications. At this stage much of the project’s technical work is over, resources are being reduced and momentum slows. For you, however, this stage requires you to be diligent and ready to deliver some of your most important work!

Coordinate Training

Change managers are often given the task of coordinating training for employees about to use new technologies and processes, for example, learning a new financial system, human resource module or a learning management system. Vendors supply excellent training, however, the training is sometimes too generic and does not include the situations and cultural practices your employees encounter daily. To make the training more relevant to employees, the Darwin Change Management Platform© provides you with a Training Coordination template. Completing this template will help you review the training materials thoroughly to ensure the appropriate learning objectives are covered, the roles are clear and the training timetable works for the business.

Go-Live Event and other Rites of Passage

The Darwin Platform also prompts change managers to coordinate a Go-Live event. This event is not meant simply to mark the day a new system is activated. Instead, the event should act as a rite of passage. Think of a new recruit entering the army. First he gets a hair cut, symbolically leaving behind his life as a citizen. Next, he attends boot camp to learn the new skills, behaviours and values of an entirely new culture. When he graduates from boot camp, he receives orders to begin a new job. The graduation ceremony marks the transition from his old identity and way of life to his new direction and career.

Your Go-Live event should follow a similar structure. Create a “graduation” ceremony or a similar event to mark the shift from old behaviours to establishing a new identity. Have the project sponsor thank employees for their hard work in learning new business processes, new ways of communicating and new skills. Finally, have structures in place to recognize and reward the new behaviours, from positive feedback from supervisors to themed coffee mugs and desktop reminders. Make a big splash. Have your project sponsor model the behaviours he or she expects from others. Ensure the messages are delivered sincerely and celebrate the early adopters.

For thousands of years, humans have held rites of passage to mark dramatic change. Benefit from evolution with the Darwin Change Management Platform©.

In Part 5 – Thrive, we measure our change management success.


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