Managing change

Managing change

Managing change is when you proactively make the most of changes to benefit your organisation. This section aims to provide the very best in change management strategies, tips and frameworks to help you do this.

Different capacities for change

As the world changes and the needs of beneficiaries and funders change so, organisations need to adapt what we do. Much of the time we can just accommodate the changes and get on with everyday work.

But everyone has a different capacity to adapt and continual or large-scale changes can be unsettling, create stress and in the long term undermine organisational effectiveness. Fundamental to good change management is understanding that what might be an insignificant change for you might be a massive upheaval for someone else and vice versa.

Empowerment through change

So, actively managing change is important to ensure staff and volunteers can adapt effectively while still delivering much needed services. If it’s managed well, then change can be empowering, taking people to the edges of their comfort zone, stretching them and building their confidence to realise they are capable of things they didn’t know.

Tips for managing change

Short of time and need to get moving on your change initiative? These top tips distil the best change management practice to help maximise your success!

Participate in change

Be part of the change. Discuss the changes as a team to develop a shared understanding of what you want to happen. Allow time for new thinking to develop. Rushed discussions can be a false economy and come back to bite you later on when you realise you hadn’t all quite understood each others’ meaning.

Communicate, communicate, communicate change

It has been said you need to communicate any message seven times in seven different ways for it to be heard. That might sound excessive, but don’t just say it once and assume everyone was listening and understood….take a look at the framework for communicating to stakeholders.

Know why you are making the change and what success will look like

Develop a vision of what the situation will be like when you have the change in place. What’s the difference between what is happening now and what it will be like when the change has happened? Be specific:

  • Why is this proposal that much better than what you have now?
  • Will it deliver a better service?
  • Will it save money?
  • Will it motivate your staff and volunteers more?
  • If it’s not going to improve on the existing situation, why are you doing it?
  • Specify the change you want to see.

Think it through before you change

You might save time by changing processes but if this inadvertently leads to staff feeling demotivated, taking longer lunch breaks and surfing job websites in their spare time, any financial savings will soon be lost.

Think through the change and its implications and if there is likely to be any negative impact, think about how you are going to manage that before deciding whether to go ahead. Look at systems views, for more guidance on this.

Be the change you want to see

People do as you do, not as you say so make sure that the messages your behaviour communicates do not contradict the changes you want to introduce. Take a look at the Leadership section.

Build change momentum

Starting with the biggest challenges is likely to demotivate and derail your changes before you get started. Start in the most promising areas and build momentum as you go.

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