This is the fourth post of a five-part series on Implementing Change which has had the objective of making you a better leader and a Change Catalyst. These are critical skills for today’s Food & Beverage manufacturing leaders and leaders in all types of organizations. As a quick review, we have already explored the 8 Steps of Change Management and Overcoming Resistance to Change. People don’t like change and as a leader, you will invariably need to implement change well if you are to be successful. In fact, you will need to be a Change Catalyst if you are going to reach your potential as a leader. Finally we looked at Step 1: Identify the Improvement Area and how to use the Pareto Priciple also known as the 80-20 rule. You will need this tool to set priorities since there are often more opportunities for loss reduction than there are resources in today’s Food & Beverage manufacturing plants. Today’s post will go quickly through steps 2 through 5 of implementing change:
As previously noted, the key to successful change, like so many things, is early management. There are several steps to successfully implementing change, even before your roll it out:
2.) Explore options. There will often be several potential solutions. Solicit ideas in team meetings or more casual conversations in the hall or on the factory floor. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of all ideas with those who are stakeholders. This would include a cross-section of those who have to implement the changes, managers who own the results, and other departments that could be affected by the change. Don’t forget to include the Quality Department when changing procedures that could affect the quality of your product, for example. Depending on the complexity of the idea, you may need to charter a cross functional team to explore the options. You may also find it beneficial to pull a smaller group of operators and mechanics to perform a 5 Why Root Cause Analysis if you are addressing a specific breakdown or quality failure.
3.) Decide on the best option. You have discussed several options. Decide which path of improvement you will take. The more stakeholders that are involved in the decision, the more ownership you will have up front. Be careful not to let the process cause undue delays though. You will need to maintain the balance between moving too quickly where you don’t get critical involvement, and involving everyone to the point of paralysis. Be sure to have buy-in on bigger decisions from anyone who has the ability to veto your decision if you are not the final authority for the decision. Make the decisions at the right level.
4.) Communicate the change. You will need to broadly communicate the decision for the change. Be honest about your plans. Be open to discussions about the potential roadblocks. Bring forth the roadblocks you have already identified and how you plant to work through those issues. All of the stakeholders need to be well aware of the change before it can be properly implemented. The floor operators on all shifts must understand their roles. Follow up with the key players to ensure understanding and buy-in.
5.) Overcoming resistance to change. You will probably hit some resistance to the change even as you are exploring ideas with your team or with individuals. That resistance is good because it will help prepare you for the resistance you surely encounter when communicating that change to the larger group. This was discussed in more detail in Implementing Change-Overcoming the Resistance.
Now that you have a specific area of improvement identified, you have explored and decided on the options, you have communicated the change and are managing the resistance, you are well on your way to successful change implementation. Tomorrow’s post will bring this topic home.