The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus
Change is inescapable and can be disruptive and challenging if not managed effectively. Change is inevitable and is typically born out of pain or resistance. When we can plan for it, proper change management sets our organization and teams up for success, allowing for a smooth transition and creating a culture that embraces change. Whether you’re implementing new technology or a whole new company strategy, considering these five tips will better prepare you to start, continue, and complete a successful process.
1. Select a strong leadership team.
As you identify your key stakeholders, consider who must be and who should be part of this process and what role they will play. Consider who your overall project sponsor will be and those that will support the efforts. While your executives are important in this process, all areas of the company should be considered. Employees, your boots on the ground staff, bring a different perspective and skill set to the table. Peer to peer leadership is very influential across the larger organization. Once you choose your leaders, empower them to act as advocates of change, promoting the benefits, providing guidance and support, and identifying and addressing resistance.
Change Champions are the true heroes in these scenarios. You will be surprised at the dedication, heart, grit, and results you will see with the right people in this role.
2. Identify potential roadblocks and get ahead.
It is important to Identify potential barriers, risks, and areas that require additional attention prior to moving forward in a transition. The scope of this can vary from company resources to employee resistance. Any area of the process that may cause friction should be noted, discussed, and addressed. Some questions to ask in this process are:
- Do we have competing priorities (e.g., other software rolling out, launching a new center) happening in an overlapping timeframe?
- Do we have the resources available (e.g., IT services, time, space for training, if applicable)?
- Is our timeline too aggressive?
- Do we have the right team in place to carry out our objective?
Ask and answer those questions honestly. If one or some of them produce risk, address them individually to reduce the risk of making your change successful.
3. Have an onboarding plan.
A crucial part of change management is choosing a vendor that will accommodate your learning needs. Whether that be in-person, virtual, or self-paced training, make sure that the style and offerings of the onboarding process meet the needs of all audiences involved in this process.
Understand the timeline and responsibilities that are needed for onboarding. It is important to know and agree to the timeframe when your team members will be dedicated to this onboarding plan.
Know the details of the plan:
- training style
- length of sessions
- ordered steps and content
- who needs to be present
- expected outcomes
- next steps
4. Communicate clearly.
Successful change management relies largely on the communication around it. Early communication around a large change provides time and space for others to ask questions that you likely already have answers for, but this also allows for questions that may not have been considered yet. A good set of FAQs can mitigate the same questions being asked over and over again. Provide a regular meeting cadence for your key sponsors and champions to discuss the overall reasoning behind your decision, the impact it will have, the timeline of this change (this should include launch date of the new product and the sunsetting of the old), and the expectations of others throughout this process.
For the larger team, plan written communication, roundtable discussions, and early adopter opportunities to keep them in the loop. Continuously provide updates on your progress, especially if the timeline has shifted.
Overall, frequent and direct communication can alleviate the fear around change. Your teammates are resilient and can handle the upcoming change, however, it’s important to give them the best opportunity to succeed. Don’t rely on their resiliency, but rather, create a positive experience where they feel heard and supported.
There is a reason you have made the decision to change. Tell that story!
5. Understand what determines success
One of the worst feelings is putting your heart and soul into something and feeling underwhelmed or unsuccessful.
Identifying and measuring goals throughout and at the end of a process keeps you in line with your expectations and overall success. Create some statements around success measure. For example:
- We will have fully adopted the new platform 60 days post launch
- We will see a 40% decrease in questions from week 1 to week 2
- We will decrease the time spent on our billing module by X number of hours each week
- We will move 80% of our paper process to a digital format.
- We will save $XX per month
- We will communicate X% more with our families
Based on your due diligence of your new vendor and objectives you have in mind, create those realistic goals and measure your progress. Acknowledge and celebrate small wins and milestones achieved during the change management process. This boosts morale, motivates employees, and reinforces the positive aspects of the change. The point of measuring your success is to share it!
Change Management can feel a bit overwhelming. If you need a starting point, start with your 5 W’s
Who – Identify your change champions
What – Identify your measures of success
When – Have a clear timeline
Where – Find where this is applicable
Why – Identify the organization need
And, for fun
How – Pick your all-star team, identify and address your roadblocks, have a clear implementation plan, communicate often and clearly, and measure your success!
This article was recent by Kangarootime’s VP of Client Success, Kelly Ormsby.
Kangarootime brings childcare together with all of the tools centers need to succeed. One, easy-to-use system helps ECE professionals run their business more efficiently while optimizing their classrooms, connecting with families, and empowering staff. Our passionate team of industry experts has a heart for learning and is committed to being a partner to the childcare community. We’ve been serving providers since 2015 and together, we’re advancing childcare forward. To learn more, visit Kangarootime.com.