Create meaning in change management

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One of the key principles of change management is to create (or give) meaning. John Kotter, the expert in the field, explains the transformation of a company into eight steps. It is possible to adapt your model to smaller changes, with the same steps. All revolve around the vision, meaning given to change or organizational transformation. But what meaning am I talking about?
It’s about explaining to stakeholders why change is happening. Indeed, it is useless to try to convince everyone to the benefits of change: no one likes to be told what to think and what is good for him or her. Moreover, for the same change, everyone will react according to their sensitivity. What one sees as strengths could be perceived negatively by another one. It is not possible to convince with a single argument a whole group.

Only company values are common to all employees. This is why you have to align the meaning with these values. In addition, since the organization is working for a client, it has identified its added value for the client. You should have no problem demonstrating how the change enhances the value proposition made to your client. Your employees who are sensitive to client experience will adopt the change even more quickly.

Finally, we must be careful not to justify everything on behalf of the client. Employees are not fools, they are able to know what is good or bad for your customers. A change that does not bring benefits to the client must be questioned before being implemented, and must be explained in a transparent manner. In organizations resistant to change, there is often a lack of trust between employees and managers.

The eight stages of organizational transformation

As a reminder, the eight stages of organizational transformation according to John Kotter, which apply very well to the deployment of operational excellence in an organization.

  • Establishing a Sense of Urgency
  • Creating the Guiding Coalition
  • Developing a Vision and Strategy
  • Communicating the Change Vision
  • Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action
  • Generating Short-Term Wins
  • Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
  • Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture
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The reason for the change must be clear, aligned with the values and objectives of the organization and support the value proposition to the client.

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