It is vitally important to make sure that all team members are on board with a change.
Gathering Data to Support the Change
In order to continue increasing awareness and to build desire to support the upcoming change; the management team must reach out to the team. The force field analysis, developed by German social psychologist Kurt Lewin helps a change management team to:
- Identify pros and cons of an option prior to making a decision
- Explore what is going right — and what is going wrong
- Analyze any two opposing positions.
Addressing Concerns and Issues About the Change
If concerns or issues arise in the team, then steps must be taken to ensure awareness is continually raised and that desire to support the change is increased. Strategies that can help the change management team responsively address team’s concerns include:
- Engaging team members, providing forums for people to express their questions and concerns
- Equipping managers & team leaders to be effective change leaders and managers of resistance
- Orchestrating opportunities for advocates of the change to contact those team members not yet on board
- Aligning incentive and performance management systems to support the change.
Evaluating and Adapting
Change is not exempt from Murphy’s Law. And even if something isn’t going wrong, change management team members must constantly be observing, listening, and evaluating the progress and process during a change.
A feedback form can be used to gather information from those involved in a change to help shape the remaining course of the change project. Instead of a paper form, feedback can be obtained through online surveys (Zoomerang.com or Survey Monkey.com), an in-house questionnaire on the intranet, a few questions sent by email, or a focus group. The questions will vary depending upon the subject being queried.
The compiled results of the feedback forms can be used by the change management team members to modify the project plan and/or the communication plan or to work with specific members of the team that may be providing roadblocks to success.
Leading Status Meetings
The team leader must make sure that the project and communication plan remain on track. They need to identify, and explore any issues from the team members that have emerged, and review and consider any feedback gathered to date.
Acting as a facilitator, the leader helps to bring about learning and productivity. Communication will be a byproduct of this by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, and supervision.
He or she listens actively, asks questions, encourages diverse viewpoints, organizes information, helps the team reach consensus, and understands that the individual needs of team members will affect teamwork.
The LEAD model provides a simple methodology for facilitating a participative meeting:
Lead with objectives: When clear objectives are stated up front, group energy is channeled toward achieving an outcome. The objectives shape the content of the meeting.
Empower to participate: In the Lead model, the facilitator is empowered to encourage active participation.
Aim for consensus: Getting the team to consensus will have members more likely to support and carry out the decisions of the team.
Direct the process: How the meeting progresses will influence the quality of the decisions of the team, and influences the commitment of team members.
Team leaders must differentiate between process and content. Content includes the topics, subjects, or issues; process is about how the topics, subjects, or issues are addressed.
Because communications from managers and team leaders have been shown to have a significant impact on team members during a change initiative, it is appropriate that they be actively involved in celebrating success with the team members as a result of positive performance. Celebrations can occur on three levels:
- One on one conversation: In a private meeting, a team leader should attest to the fact that due to the team member’s effort, a change was made, and how it is succeeding. He or she should extend verbal thanks to the team member.
- Public recognition: Public recognition officially acknowledges outstanding performance and points out a role model that helped make a successful change happen. Team leaders should carefully consider who receives recognition, and not alienate team members who participated in the change but who many not have distinguished themselves significantly.
- Team celebrations: Fun or engaging team activities are used to celebrate key milestones by a group. They include buffet or restaurant lunches, dinner events, or can include group outings to sports, amusement, or cultural events. It is important that these types of celebrations try to include the involvement of the primary change sponsor in some way.
Sharing the Results and Benefits of the Change
In order to sustain the impact of a change, it is important for everyone who is involved in the process to know what results are occurring. This occurs across a number of dimensions. Ongoing feedback is needed from team members at all levels.