Organizational Change Management: The Key to Executing Your Plans

January 17, 2017
Organizational Change Management: The Key to Executing Your Plans

So you spent the last few months of 2016 putting together some pretty complicated business plans and sales goals for 2017. Maybe you’re going to be doing some hiring, implementing a tool like CRM or a Sales PlayBook, launching a new product or service, or starting a training program. The biggest key to implementing your plans is organizational change management.

Organizational change management is the area of change management focusing on people.

People are the key to successfully executing your plans, and they can also be the key to failure. You can use the principles of organizational change management to get the results you’re looking for.

Criteria for Success 10-Step Change Management Model

Let’s start by reviewing our simple 10-step change management model:

  1. Start by establishing the “why.” Why do you need to do this? Why now?
  2. Get buy-in at multiple levels, from executive sponsors to end users. Clarify how the change will affect people differently.
  3. Align on goals and develop metrics to monitor progress.
  4. Form a project team including stakeholders from multiple impacted groups.
  5. Identify areas of potential resistance and develop plans to address them.
  6. Evaluate how culture will affect the project and be affected by the project.
  7. Cascade leadership expectations with managers at every level responsible for their team’s involvement.
  8. Communicate throughout the project at multiple levels and through multiple channels.
  9. Develop training programs that drive adoption.
  10. Check in throughout the project and make adjustments when necessary.

At almost every step in the change management model, we’re talking about people. Here are the five organizational change management best practices you can use as you’re implementing your business plans.

5 Keys to Organizational Change Management

1. Establish Buy-in

Buy-in for your projects needs to exist throughout your organization. To get it, people will need to align on a problem and your proposed solution. They’ll need to know how it will impact them and accept its necessity. If you don’t get this buy-in when you start the project, people will be a problem.

2. Focus on Communication

Even once you’ve gotten buy-in, you’ll need to focus on communication throughout the project. People need to know what’s going on, where you are in the plan, and what’s happening next. People tend to appreciate regular previews rather than one big announcement at the end of a project. It’s helpful to consider different forms of communication and ensure that you have a plan for in-person meetings, email announcements, and even a project website people can check on their own or a project status board on the wall.

3. Think About Culture

Any major business plan will be affected by your team’s culture, and it will affect your team’s culture. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what your culture is like now? Consider how managers interact with their teams, how information spreads, and how team members perceive goals. Who do people look to for leadership despite their lack of a specific leadership title? Integrate each of these factors into your plans.

4. Plan for Resistance

Resistance is tied to culture, but it can be helpful to think of it as a separate item to address. Most people are naturally averse to change, and they can resist it both passively and actively. Passive resistance is often expressed as ignoring, forgetting, or avoiding getting involved, while active resistance can look like out-and-out rebellion. Look to your leaders to identify potential sources of resistance and proactively address them. Your biggest roadblocks can be your biggest cheerleaders if they buy in and feel that their concerns are being heard.

5. Activate with Training

Training is often one of the last steps of any project, and it can end up getting shortchanged if the project sponsors are already moving onto the next initiative. Develop a plan for training that addresses individual needs and continue training over time so people have a chance to apply what they’ve learned and come back with questions. Their feedback may also cause you to make changes – it’s amazing what you discover once a large group of people is using a system or process.

I hope this exploration of organizational change management is helpful as you work on executing your business plans in 2017. For more examples of change management, check out the resource below.
Free eBook: A Simple 10 Step Change Management Process


  • Raphael Steele - Reply

    Such wonderful detail

  • Poppy Booth - Reply

    Thank you for the lovely information. This will help me a lot. Keep it up.

  • Christine M - Reply

    Thank you for the lovely information. This will help me a lot. Keep it up.

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