Thinking about Change with help from Twitter

by Anne Yurasek on July 22, 2008

I am currently working a viewpoint article to support our design of an organizational intervention around information management.  The article is about our view of change management - what do we believe is an appropriate model for thinking about change and what do we see as the critical success factors for implementing change.  Over the years, there have been tomes of research and writing around this topic - from John Kotter to William Bridges to Rosabeth Moss Kanter to Peter Senge.  Change is an ever-present condition of humanity that, candidly, most people struggle with.  Honestly, do you like change?  Especially imposed change? Or unwanted change?  I decided to poll my Twitter followers on their thoughts around critical success factors for implementing change in organizations  - below are a few of their tips:

  • @jefferybiggs An employee base willing to embrace the changes. (And to get that he suggested…) Motivation. Lots of motivation. It’s difficult, but emphasizing the benefits to come from the "growing pains" or difficulties helps.
  • @sondernagle Buy-in from those directly affected by the change in question.
  • @TheLadyV An excellent communications person to provide the right info to the right people at the right time in the right amount. (Best-in-class suggestions for approaches?) Face2face btwn mgrs & direct employees is best. But you’ll need a matrix of comm tools for different purposes.
  • @missashe This sounds obvious, but buy-in. real buy-in (not lip service) from the board, ED, and staff (And how do we get that? Information? Inclusion? Dissatisfaction?) I think it can happen in all of those instances. but I think active & intentional communication re: changes (& their rationale)...
  • @egculbertson Just one? what comes to mind is: endurance, keeping focus on the goals and acknowledging that change is in fact, taking place.
  • @bloodandmilk Being able to demonstrate some level of impact immediately.
  • @vanessamason At least one cheerleader that will encourage people to follow through and have authority to back that up

Their responses reinforced the concept of buy-in and ownership - but how do leaders achieve this?  I am considering a model for change that includes leadership and communications as key components—as well as the development of a clear vision, an analysis of the change (what & who & how much change?), and a tactical plan for moving the organization - would include communications plan, training plan. What am I missing? How do you inspire the hearts and minds of your staff to embrace change?  Suggestions are welcome from our readers….and thanks to my Twitter pals for their contributions - all are welcome to come on over and unpack their thoughts here!