Implementing Change-Get it Done

[tweetmeme] This is the last of a six part series on Implementing Change. We have already studied the 8 Steps of Change Management and Overcoming Resistance to Change. We have looked at Steps 1 through 5 in more detail and will finish today with the last 3 steps. We will quickly recap the first 5 steps then finish with the final 3 in more detail. As previously noted, the key to successful change, is early management. There are several steps to successfully implementing change, even before your roll it out:

1.) Identify the Improvement Area {click on the link for more detail} Use the 80-20 Rule to narrow the ideas down to the vital few. Set SMART Goals in order to have well-defined expectations of the team.

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. Use tools like the 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. 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. 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 throughout the process. People are often afraid of change because of the unknown. Open and honest communication and involving your team in the process will help reduce the fears and concerns.

6.) Document the best practice. Your new best practice needs to be documented and incorporated into your training program in order to give yourself the best opportunity to sustain the gains. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), One Point Lesson (OPL’s), Operator Checklists, and other documentation will need to be developed or revised depending on the scope of the change.

7.) Implement the change. The actual implementation can be anti-climatic if you have done the first 5 steps properly and have a solid improvement plan. Select a date and time that the change is effective and give the green light to go.

8.) Follow-up. Sustaining the improvements can be the most difficult part of the change process. It can be very tempting to move on to the next project in today’s busy manufacturing environment. But don’t let up just yet because you are likely to see everyone drift away from your new best practices if you do not have the right systems in place. There are a few important points if you are to Sustain the Gain:

a) You will need to follow-up with the key players to see what issues they may be encountering. You will often find that you would benefit by making modifications to the new Best Practice. Reserve the right to learn, get smarter, and to continuously improve.

b) You will need to establish systems to support the change. Data may need to be collected for Leaders to review. Data would be helpful if the change involved process set point changes or other measurable parameters. Forms will need to be created to document that the new procedures are being followed for new Quality inspections and other similar changes.

c) Leadership must ensure that there are robust systems in place and follow-up at the right level of the organization to ensure the change becomes a reality. Follow up will be needed to ensure that the change is implemented as intended. Proper follow-up will enable you to work through those unforeseen issues instead of ignoring them or being blissfully unaware.

Working through these 8 steps will enable you to overcome the resistance to change that you will meet as the leader of your team. These steps will also enable you to be the Change Catalyst you need to be to reach your potential as a leader.


About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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7 Responses to Implementing Change-Get it Done

  1. Change is very difficult to administer in any organization…your 8 steps will benefit supervisors who need to implement it while trying to overcome resistance from their team. Great articles, please keep them coming.

    Thanks – Frank

    • Frank,

      Thank you for the encouraging comments. Change seems to be a universal and timeless theme and as you noted, difficult everywhere. I hope that this is helpful for many. Thank you again.


  2. Great points about change. According to studies done by Norcross, DiClimente and Proschaska there are five stages of change. If you are able to assess where an individual, or dept, is at within the change process you will be in a better position to work with them where they are instead of trying to create a one-size-fits-all approach.

    The second tactic which works amazingly well is to identify all of the objections to change and then speak directly to those objections. As you answer each one they will begin to lose power and you will discover where there was once resistance that person has now become a supporter.

    • Loren,

      It would be interesting to compare the five stages of change per the work you reference with the steps identified in this series. I suspect that my steps would fit into their stages. You are absolutely right about speaking directly to the objections to change. The best way to overcome the resistance is to address the objections in my experience. As you note, many will get on board with the change and those who are not fully on board have little influence if you have really addressed the objections. Thanks for your thoughtful insight.


  3. Your blog is allowing me to understand change in an objective and systematic way. For example, I have trouble understanding why communities and individuals are resistant to green energy strategies such as wind power. Could the eight steps help?

    • Great, I’m glad this is helping. I believe that these 8 steps are universal so following them should help. It sound like resistance to changing to green energy is a frustration for you. One post in the series was dedicated to Overcoming the Resistance. You may find it helpful: Loren’s comments below may also be helpful.

      Thanks for reading this blog and for your comments. Let me know if you have any questions after reading Overcoming the Resistance.


  4. Pingback: Why Don’t People Follow Procedures? | My Flexible Pencil

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