Effective change management helps businesses anticipate and address the challenges that result from bringing in organizational change. It helps organizations understand how to best adapt to change and cope with the other changes in the business that will inevitably occur due to it.
Projects achieve their objectives through change management. When an organization's change initiative has an effective framework, it is more likely to succeed. A well-defined change program can help a business stay on track or even ahead of schedule.
Crafting a change plan includes getting answers to key questions that drive the plan and motivate change agents to achieve better outcomes faster. Coming up with the right change management questions is the best way to ensure that an organizational transformation project runs smoothly.
It is also important to ask the right questions in order to satisfy employees’ queries and to ensure their productivity. Here are the 16 Change Management questions that companies must ask before implementing change.
#1: What do we stop and what do we continue doing?
It is very important to clarify what things need to be stopped and what things must be continued or started anew. This will help everyone stay on the same page in terms of personal and organizational goals and make all the employees well aware of their duties and responsibilities.
#2: Is this change needed?
Innovative new ideas and strategies can be dreamt up and developed, but sometimes it is best to stand back and ask yourself whether these changes are essential. Would the disruption bring more problems than benefits? Consider the problem that needs solving again and decide whether it is necessary. Strategize the entire process with each step clearly defined and decide what can be done to make achieving the goals easier.
#3: How do we start?
During an event of a change, the million-dollar question people will certainly have is - “how to start?”. Apart from change being a challenging landscape, whether it be in a personal or a professional setting, the idea of resetting your whole system is what scares people the most, as they are afraid of mistakes or worse, failure.
The best answer to this is simple. Have a change management plan and take the first step. Always keep in mind that nothing comes easy at first. Without making the first step towards something, you will never get where you are supposed to be.
#4: How would you ensure that everyone involved is well-informed about the change?
Answering this question will put things in perspective for everyone. All members of the company will know critical information about the market needs and what the company can offer to sustain these needs.
This will ensure that everyone has the same set of goals and that the mission of the transformed company is clear to everyone. It is very important to set up a centralized communication software perhaps via email or by using the in-app announcement feature of a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).
#5: What are your high-level goals and when do you want to accomplish them?
It's important to understand what the goals of your organization are, in order to envision the future of the company. Once you know this, you can start to plan the steps needed to get there.
The time horizon by which you need to accomplish these goals can drastically change the approach taken. A very short timeline may result in a reorganization of an entire department, and a longer timeline may result in process or collaboration changes. Determining and consistently checking in on your timeline is key to successful change management.
#6: What are some of the most commonly utilized change models in change management?
The most commonly used change management model is Prosci ADKAR Model, which defines five stages that stakeholders impacted by a change must be guided through in order for the change to be effective. This is one of the most prominent change models. (ADKAR - Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement)
#7: What are some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use when working on a change project?
The following are some of the change management KPIs and metrics that are used in a change project:
- Training participation
- Adoption rate of the new processes
- Number of help desk queries
- Percentage of stakeholders who are aware of the change
- Difference in ROI
#8: Why is the change occurring now?
When responding to this question, keep in mind that the majority of changes originate outside the organization many months or even years before they occur internally. The majority of significant business changes occur in response to changes in the external marketplace. It takes time for external business drivers to take hold inside the organization. If they have already had a negative impact on your company's bottom line, quick action is required.
#9: Where do you really want to go?
Company growth often gets lost in the numerous market intersections and needs. Most companies fail to transform successfully because the long-term goal gets lost somewhere along the way. In most instances, the focus on short-term financial growth overshadows the long-term goal, and the prosperity of the company is lost there.
The only way to answer this question is to look at where you wanted to be from the beginning. Have things changed? Do you need to recalibrate the vision? If not, where are you right now in the journey to this long-term vision?
#10: Who are the change agents?
Typically, you have change leaders and change managers. You need to define these roles based on the length of the change project. A change leader is typically the CEO who puts the vision together and change managers are typically individuals in the organization who will execute the plan.
#11: Is the culture of your business agile enough to cope with change in the workplace?
To implement change, you need to have flexible and agile employees that embrace change. The company needs to promote a culture where change is quickly accepted without much resistance. To prevent rigid and closed mentality, change needs to be welcomed throughout the whole structure, and even developed with people at every level.
#12: How adaptable is your company culture?
Companies vary widely in change readiness. Some cultures nurture and reward change, so it becomes part of the collective experience. Some companies value and reward tradition, stability, and predictability. These nuances of the company culture greatly impact the likelihood of successful change and the scope of formal change management needed.
#13: Are you reinforcing the necessity of the change to key stakeholders?
The key stakeholders understanding the “why” of the change and the expected result of not making the change is a necessary step in helping employees successfully navigate the transition.
Only when you get executive buy-in can you implement the change at your organization. Convince the key stakeholders about the necessity of the change and its benefits in the future. Change Management communication should begin during the planning and continue throughout implementation. Not all individuals and groups will be impacted in the same way. It is critical that individuals understand how the change will impact them personally and professionally.
#14: Who is leading the people's side of change management?
Change management projects fail when no one manages the people side of the project. To-Do Lists and Gantt Charts are nice but the people are the key to effective change management.
By this, we mean that change leaders need to involve more stakeholders in the development of the change management project to overcome employee change resistance. People need to know what’s in it for them. Employees that are invested in the change are more likely to support the project. It is also a more inclusive process when a diverse group of stakeholders are involved.
#15: How much time do change projects take?
This depends on the sense of urgency. Depending on the current situation and it’s the circumstances that make the change necessary, the urgency of the project can differ. It depends on the compelling argument made to justify the change, the financial situation, the competitive situation of the business or enterprise. Change projects can span months or years especially if there is a merger or acquisition involved in the overall plan.
#16: How can you avoid future mistakes?
Being proactive is one of the best skills any entrepreneur should possess. Mistakes are unavoidable, but of course, you are one step ahead of the game if you anticipate future problems and act accordingly.
These change management questions are worth pondering since not all changes stick around, and reinforcement is often needed to ensure that employees do not return to old behaviors.
Organizations, on one hand, are attempting to implement change as soon as possible. On the other hand, employees are a step behind in trying to grasp why the change is necessary and how it will affect them.
The majority of employees in an organization are not in a hurry to change. Many employees may not understand the need to change at all. Forcing people to change when they don't understand the reasons behind it can hinder the process. Streamline your change plan and engage your employees throughout the process with the help of a Digital Adoption Platform like Apty.