Member Login

5 Steps to Successful Organizational Change – Step 2: Develop

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2016

Develop Your Strategy and Tactics

In Part 2 of a 5 part series, Darwin co-founder Dr. Jim Rae discusses the critical steps required for managing organizational change successfully.istock_000016745994medium


Data determines the effort required

In Step 1, we used the Darwin Change Management Platform© to measure our hypothetical organization’s change-readiness. Based on our hypothetical data, we know 68% of employees favour the new change initiative. We also know 84% of Human Resources employees support the change but only 47% of the Finance department favours adoption. Based on these results, our communications with Human Resources employees should be mainly informational while communications with Finance department employees will necessarily be more engaging and frequent. Now that we know what and who we are dealing with, let’s develop our change management strategy.


Elements of Strategy

  1. Have a compelling vision    

Every successful strategy requires a clear, bold and compelling vision. IKEA‘s vision is to “create a better everyday life for people,” meaning make and sell economical, well-designed, functional furniture. Every employee understands these concepts. Or Zappos, the online shoe company’s “deliver WOW through service.” These visions unite employees, define priorities and allow them to achieve greatness collectively.

Your change initiative also requires a compelling vision. Especially if you have 53% of the Finance department opposing it. To find the best vision, ask impacted employees how important this change is to their day-to-day work. How will it impact their ability to add value? Is there any inspiration to be drawn from making this change? Boil this feedback into something that fits on a coffee cup, and try it out on the project team, the project sponsor and other employees. Does it resonate with them? Is it memorable? Does it compel them to want to participate in the change and become advocates? If so, you are on the right track.

  1. Adopt and broadcast the vision

Once you land on your vision, have your project sponsor repeat it in every message to employees, in conversations and at every opportunity. You now have your ‘slogan’ to allow your message to stand out.

  1. Broadcast…AND receive

We cannot overstate this rule. At least 50% of your change management communication should involve activities where you and the sponsor are listening to stakeholders’ concerns. You need to know why only 47% of Finance department employees favour this change. Except for the project team, no one really cares if the regression testing was successful or if the new technology has better encryption. Ask what employees think and then put your messages into their ‘language’.

  1. How many tactics?

The Darwin Change Management platform recommends your Stakeholder Engagement Plan contain 10-12 tactics for organizations with less than a 50% change-readiness score; 8-10 tactics for change-readiness scores between 51% and 67% and 4-6 for scores over 68%.   You may decide on more or fewer tactics, however, your plan should have an equal number of activities “broadcasting” important change initiative information and “receiving” employee feedback.

  1. How do I know if my change management strategy was successful?

Measure it. Using Darwin’s employee data, compare your organization’s change-readiness scores before and after implementing your plan. Scoping your plan appropriately, popularizing a compelling vision, using your sponsor’s influence and presenting information in a way your stakeholders understand it will dramatically increase your likelihood of success. At this stage, you may present your findings to the sponsor and project team demonstrating the effectiveness of the change management strategy you devised.

Still some gaps in your organization’s change-readiness? We will address this in Part 3: Aligning organizational leaders.


← Back to News