Some-one asked me the other day what I thought were the principles of good change management based on the work I had done. I’ve been really fortunate to work with a lot of good companies that do change well, and in reflecting on why those changes worked well these were the 7 principles that came to mind! I’d be most curious to hear yours… do share in the comments.

Principle 1: Co-create where you can

It’s hard to push back on the plan, if you’ve taken part in designing it. Bring in the end audience in the design of what the change is, and how you will roll out the change. Beyond reducing resistance to change, you may actually be designing a better change!

Principle 2: Take the blinkers off

Make sure you know what else is going on that could get in the way of your change OR could be an opportunity to leverage. Make the time to speak with other leaders and find out what’s happening in their parts of the business. Generate a change radar that tells you what is dropping at what point. Clear the runway for your change or juice it up.

Principle 3: Resource for success

Bringing in something new is not the time to be stingy and expect your managers and employees to wear multiple hats. Multi tasking during change means everything is compromised. Create backfill for your employees, resource with dedicated change practitioners.

Principle 4: Communicate what’s known, what’s not known and when you expect to know more

To wait for perfect information is to create a vacuum, and that vacuum will surely be filled with rumour and innuendo.

Principle 5: Engagement wins every time

Change resistance is inversely proportional to the amount of stakeholder engagement that occurs. You don’t need a strategy to deal with the blockers. You just need to engage with people who will be impacted by the change. Engage with empathy, curiosity and frequently.

Principle 6: Purpose matters.

Purpose is bigger than What’s In it for me? (WIIFM). Purpose is big, enduring, the reason why people get out of bed to go to work enthusiastically. If you can align your change with purpose, people get it. It makes sense. If it’s not aligned to the companies purpose, then forget about it.

Principle 7: Change leadership is critical.

The fish rots from the head. If your leadership team is not fully and visibly committed you can’t expect anyone else to make the changes. A fully committed leadership team will override poorly designed change every time.


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