It can be a significant challenge to incorporate different types of organizational changes into the day-to day. From who will be doing the work to the way work will be done, change often impacts multiple areas and numerous job functions. But being able to orchestrate these transitions quickly is a key differentiator in organizational survival and success.

As the amount and pace of organizational change increases, businesses consistently seek out people who can inspire others to implement changes quickly and successfully. In fact, there is a growing body of research that says leadership is about managing change. In other words, to be an effective leader, you must be an effective change agent.

As a business leader, you may already have had your share of leading different organizational changes.  Some changes may have been easier to implement than others. Some may have been more successful than others. However, you can take steps to increase the likelihood that your change initiative will be successful.

Beckhard and Gleicher’s Change Equation is a simple change model that purports ways to overcome resistance and make change happen. The Change Equation tells us that you can build organizational support for managing change by engaging individuals at all stages of the change process. As discussed in, “The Change Equation:  A Formula for Creating Successful Organizational Change”, change occurs when:

Dissatisfaction   x   Vision   x   First Steps   >   Resistance

Following are 20 tips + one to help you translate the Change Equation into concrete actions that you can take to pave the way to successful organizational change.

To create DISSATISFACTION with the status quo….

  1. Understand how your organization’s culture and values impact new initiatives.
  2. Take the time to create formal change management plans to manage changes.
  3. Understand what your role as a change agent entails at each project phase.
  4. Speak about the benefits of change from multiple perspectives (e.g. financial, social, legal, environmental, etc.)
  5. Share specific facts, numbers and data to demonstrate why change is necessary.
  6. Address people’s fears and needs when you talk about upcoming changes.
  7. Point out the personal benefits of change to those who will be impacted by changes.

To create a VISION for possibilities….

  1. Make sure that your vision for change is concrete, specific, and tangible.
  2. Start communicating early why your vision is desirable and necessary.
  3. Make people fully aware of the inherent risks of not adopting your vision.
  4. Make sure your vision resonates with people as, “The right thing to do”.
  5. I hold people at all levels of the organization accountable to implement vision.
  6. Enlist the help of middle managers and supervisors to deploy your vision.
  7. Remain flexible to modify your vision as new information arises or circumstances change.

To create FIRST STEPS towards your vision….

  1. Involve people in defining and implementing SMART goals to move towards your vision.
  2. Invite people to “try out” changes and provide input about proposed solutions.
  3. Track and communicate progress against goals on a regular basis.
  4. Ensure that you celebrate successes and milestones reached throughout the organization.
  5. Recognize individuals and teams in meaningful ways for their hard work.
  6. Integrate mechanisms to gather ongoing feedback and foster dialogue.

Plus one additional tip…

Start change management early. Communicate early to engage people to drive your vision and be accountable for implementing changes. This, in turn, leads to earlier change adoption and accelerates how quickly you reap the expected business benefits.

How many of these tips have you already used to navigate change?

What tips do you plan to apply to your next change initiative?

Change management has become a core competency for all leaders.

Do you want to assess your change management skills?

Take The Change Management Quiz