Developing Effective Change Strategy
Change Strategy Challenges
The term “change strategy” may cause groans, frowns, or smiles among organizational leaders and members of their executive team. The responses the term evokes are usually the direct result of the organization’s history of success or failure with implementation of change management initiatives and the level of “buy in” for the planned strategies.
Past experiences may cause some leadership team members to approach change with excitement, believing it is the foundation of any change process. Others think of it as a potential time waster involving numerous hours of meetings and strategic documents that ultimately gather dust on a shelf. Obviously, both scenarios can be true. Regardless of an organization’s past history with strategic planning for change, Inter-Growth believes future success requires each transformative initiative to have at its heart both a driving vision and a strategy for achieving that vision.
Organizational leaders interested in bringing large-scale change should ask themselves the following questions to develop the strongest strategy possible:
- How do we mitigate past change strategy and implementation failures?
- Will we develop the strategy in a smaller group of transformation team members and then communicate it to the rest, or will as many team members as possible be involved in its articulation?
- How will we disseminate the strategy to the entire organization?
- How can we maintain the strategy as foremost in importance in the mind of team members?
- How will we monitor progress in strategy implementation? How will we communicate on our successes and struggles to the full team?
It may initially seem obvious that involving a larger team in developing effective change strategy is preferable, but there are multiple ways to get buy-in and secure high levels of involvement. A smaller team can develop a strategy and ask the larger team to vet it. This serves to keep the larger team involved about how the information is used and helps secure their buy-in related to the implementation.
Many tools such as surveys, interviews, virtual team meetings and other mechanisms can be used to garner team buy-in and promote engagement. In the end, it is most important that a leader thinks through these items and determines the best approach for the specific initiative, understanding that each choice will have an impact on the strategy development and implementation.