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Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Focus on follow-up to manage change effectively

I had this brief article published last week in the business section of our local newspaper. Although brief, it talks about something I feel very passionate about. It may be helpful to remind ourselves that consistent and on-going follow-up is crucial in order for people to really “get it” when it comes to the requirements and their accountability towards an organizational change.

– – – – Originally published in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 3/29/16; Focus on follow-up to manage change effectively, by Donna Rawady

Your organization may be moving through a recent merger or acquisition, a change in infrastructure, or an intentional shift in workplace culture. Regardless of the change, most leaders realize there are specific strategies that are crucial to effective change management, including: establishing a clear plan; carefully positioning and communicating the change; clarifying roles, responsibilities and expectations; consistent and inclusive updates; and being sensitive to the change’s impact on morale.

An additional and crucial factor in accomplishing sustainable change is strategic follow-up and follow-through by leadership and middle management to generate and sustain accountability in support of the plan’s objectives.

As leaders, we may feel that we have made the business case behind the changes crystal clear, and that involved managers surely understand what needs to be done to “make it happen” within their teams. Yet, in order for individuals or teams to internalize those new standards and plans, requirements may need to be communicated, and support provided.

Here are a few follow-up strategies that, when well-executed, will help to generate and support sustainable change:

• Ensure that your managers are equipped to: communicate the business case behind the plan, generate accountability relating to required job responsibilities and target dates, and respond to questions or challenges relating to the interim objectives or the end goal.

• Provide a forum for hands-on leaders to discuss their successes and challenges in leading or managing people or processes through change, so that customized recommendations or coaching can be provided to support managers and/or employees toward the long-term objectives.

• Evaluate, share and celebrate successes along the way to maintain trust in, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s future state.

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