Management Strategy to Help Your Employees Implement Change

Stage 5: Change Management: Implementation

Happy business people celebrating the success of their change implementation.
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You've finally made it to the Implementation Stage of making and managing change within your organization. Yes, you get to take action during this stage. You can if you follow these recommendations and accomplish first, the four initial stages that build employee commitment to change.

The 5th Stage of Managing Change: Implementation

In this stage, the change is managed and moves forward. Your overall goal at this implementation stage is to maintain your constancy of purpose. You will want to check to make sure that the changes are having the desired effects.

You will need to redesign your organizational systems to support the changes. You will also need to provide recognition and rewards (positive consequences) to people who exhibit the changed behaviors you were hoping to see.

What to Watch Out for During the Implementation Stage

During the Implementation Stage, your organization will experience the greatest disequilibrium. Change inevitably disrupts existing structures that allocate power, status, and control.

The changes you make will also not go exactly as planned. Change usually takes much longer than organizations anticipate. New people and new technology can take up to 18 months to work effectively in your organization.

Smaller changes that disrupt employee habits can take a shorter amount of time but they can initiate stress and concerns among employees. You need to address the stress and concerns if you expect your change implementation to ever work.

What to Do

Change agents, senior managers, and managers must prepare employees for systems that will not immediately produce the desired results. During this stage, change leaders must ensure that the following activities are completed.

You will want to provide additional training as needed

Leaders Ensure the Implementation Plan Is Moving Forward

During the Implementation Stage, when managing change, the organization must use problem-solving techniques to determine whether the change is having the desired effects.

The leaders of the change effort must take the following steps to assure that the changes are successful.

Measure the Results From the Changes

Design a system to measure the effects of the change or the improvement on your work systems, people interaction, customer interaction, and any component of your organization that is involved or affected.

An example is how has the change affected communication between your departments. How much extra work are the employees investing in the new work systems that were caused by the changes?

You will also want to measure the success of the change overall. You will want to demonstrate that the change is producing the results for which it was intended. Or, if the changes are not, you’ll want to make course corrections along the way.

Ensure that the changes are actually solving the problems that they were designed to address. Your efforts expended in measuring the effects of the changes will help you with this initiative.

Address Remaining Problems Quickly

Address any remaining sources of continuing resistance and conflict. This is many times the employees who have not been involved in the implementation of the changes up to this point.

Ensure that any problems that are caused by the implementation and transition are addressed as quickly as possible. They won’t solve themselves and, if left unresolved, they will fester just under the surface. Festering problems rear their ugly heads at the most inconvenient times and undermine the success of your changes.

Communicate and Provide Feedback So Employees Know What Is Happening

Provide feedback to all members of your organization on the progress that is happening and the current status of the change efforts.

You need to wisely practice this old adage: Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then, tell them what you just told them. You do this to ensure that your employees are clear about the progress of the change implementation. In turn, this ensures their support of the efforts.

Respond rapidly to any problems that are identified when you share feedback about the progress of the change. Your employees are in the best position to identify the problems and pain points that may undermine the success of your implementation of the changes.

Fine Tune Your Measurements

Complete and fine tune the changes and the systems that you are using for measuring the effects of the change in your organization and on your employees. If you expect the implementation of the changes to last, to earn employee support, and to truly affect improvement in your organization, you must demonstarte that the changes were, indeed, necessary and wise.

The Bottom Line

If you incorporate these measures when you are in the Implementation Stage of your change efforts, you will increase the probability that you will effectively apply the changes within your organization.

It doesn't get any better than that. Missing any of these success factors undermines your chances for a positive outcome.

Remember another old adage as you move through this stage of implementation with your employees. Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

See the six stages involved in change management.