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Change is an inevitable (and often essential) part of any organization, yet it can be an unsettling and frightening process for individuals involved. Being an effective leader means anticipating change and coming up with a strategic change management plan. Learn how to adapt and lead others to follow suit, and you will continue to evolve along with your organization.


1. Communication

When you make significant changes in a workplace, employees are bound to have a lot of questions. Why are we changing? What’s wrong with the way we’ve been doing things? Does this put my job or salary in danger? Try to anticipate the common questions you will receive, and formulate clear, honest and consistent responses in advance. Communicate to your employees the reasons the organization needs to change, assuage fears when you can and be candid about any possible negative repercussions (layoffs, pay cuts, etc.).  Communications skills training is a valuable foundation for effective change management strategies.


2. Employee Involvement

Creating lasting change is not an individual effort; it requires involvement and buy-in from employees on every rung of the ladder, from senior management to interns. The leadership team in an organization has to be committed to working together to implement and accept new approaches. If you truly believe in the changes you are encouraging your employees to embrace, your enthusiasm will show and others will be more willing to follow your lead. It’s important to “walk the walk” and lead by example. As challenges and questions arise from employees, address them immediately and listen to feedback you receive.


3. Training and Education

A successful change management plan should include a carefully planned training and education component for any new technology, systems or processes. Introduce these new elements early on, and allow enough time for managers and employees to become comfortable with the changes before making a full switch.


4. Flexibility

Sometimes Plan A doesn’t work as smoothly as you had hoped, or it needs tweaking before it becomes effective. Have a few contingency plans just in case you need them. Be flexible enough to recognize when one method has flaws and be able to adapt on your feet.


Learn more about Employee Development Systems, Inc.’s change management plan  courses.

Photo courtesy of akeg’s Flickr account

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