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By Ruth Tearle


Many new projects, systems or strategies fail to be implemented successfully. And many fail to achieve the benefits that leaders expected. Those implementing a change often fear "resistance to change" as something that can derail their project.

To ensure your changes or projects are implemented successfully and achieve the benefits you want, it is useful to develop a change management strategy that will take into account everything that has to be done, to ensure your change works.

How to develop a change management strategy.

Develop a change management strategy that incorporates IQ, EQ and SQ.

Answer the following questions to develop a powerful change management strategy. A strategy that incorporates rational intelligence (IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ) and spiritual intelligence (SQ). A strategy that demonstrates real leadership and results in a powerful organizational change.

1. Why is this change needed?

  • What is the organizational change that the leadership requires? Can you explain this in simple terms?
  • What are the benefits of the change? Prepare a list of benefits of your change, to the company, the customer, the team and to each individual.
  • Why should an individual care about these benefits?
  • How can you ensure the individual gets enough benefit from the change, to make the extra work and effort worthwhile?
  • What are the implications of not doing this change? Can you provide a sense of meaning and purpose around your change? Think of great world leaders. Can you link your change to a sense of greatness?

2. How will this change impact on the organization?

  • What else will change or need to change?
  • game-of-change
  • How will this project or strategy impact on every element of the organization? How will it affect everything from the roles people play, the teams they work in, the people they report to, the way they get rewarded, to their future career paths?
  • What else will need to change, to support your change, project or strategy? Will the reward system need to change? Will people need to develop new skills or behaviours to support the change? Will they require new paradigms? Will you need to change structures? Will you need to change the way you measure performance? What knowledge will people need to perform the way you expect them to perform?
  • The best way of analyzing what changes will need to be made to support your new project or strategy, is to get a group together in a workshop, and to use the Change Puzzle Kit.

3. How it will happen. (Your change management strategy.)


Prepare an implementation strategy which provide specifics details regarding ‘who will do what, by when.’ Use the tool "Winning the Game of Change" to help you develop this change strategy or implementation plan. As part of the game you will:

  • Define all the roles that will be played. This could include the roles of every individual, the middle manager or branch manager, the executive sponsor, the change team and internal vs external change consultants.
  • Specify the support that every role player will receive. Support could include training and tools. It could also include the time and attention of a manager or executive sponsor.
  • Specify the stages in your particular change process. This could include:
    • Training of role players in the skills they need to perform their roles.
    • Communicating the initial change.
    • Skills training on a new system, process or culture.
    • Assessment of skills.
    • Communicating progress.
    • Preparing for a cut over day.
    • Post cut over assessments.
  • Identify further plans you may need to make to ensure the change is implemented successfully. These could include:
    • Ensuring that every role player gives out the same message.
    • Providing recognition and rewards for people who contribute to the change.
    • Developing a feedback and monitoring system to identify, assess and deal with problems.
    • Providing sanctions for people who sabotage the change.
    • Providing training, tools and coaching. Getting all role players to share what they have learned as well as their success stories so as to encourage others.
    • Providing people whose status will be affected by the change, with a more attractive role.

Winning the Game of Change includes 42 cards detailing best practices of change management. It provides information showing strategies other organizations have used to manage change successfully. Use these cards to stimulate your thinking. Use the complete game to develop a powerful yet practical change strategy. Get the stakeholders of your particular change together in a group. Then use Winning the Game of Change in a workshop. Together you will develop an even more powerful change strategy - one that now also has the buy-in of your stakeholders.

4. What order will it happen in? (Your change management plan.)

  • What are the phases or interventions that make up your change?
  • What order will these phases follow? Put these onto a calendar.
  • How will your change be rolled out? For example. You may choose to do a pilot project first. Or you may choose to start your implementation in a small, low risk area, learn lessons, and build experience before rolling out the change in larger or high risk areas.
  • Who will manage the logistics, assessments and follow ups?

5. What is your intention as a leader?


The leader and the change team’s intentions influence how people feel about any organizational change. What are your leadership intentions? For example do you intend to:

  • Force through the change.
  • Or to help every employee to become a hero.

Your intention will show up in the way you choose to communicate and to manage your change. E.g.

  • Do you encourage people to voice their fears and concerns, and suggest ways of ensuring the implementation works?
  • Do you and your change agents make people feel their contribution is important and valued?
  • Do you provide training, coaching and tools to help people to perform their roles successfully?
  • Do employees and change agents believe that when they have problems, they have someone to go to who will listen?
  • Does every employee feel that he/she is special. And that his/her talents can at last be used, and appreciated during the change?
  • Do you give every employee a chance to visualize the future change at work? i.e. What it will mean to the customer, the company and themselves.
  • Do you give everyone a chance to contribute creative ideas to make the change work better in their areas?

6. What should you communicate in any change?

During an initial communication, you need to communicate the following, clearly and simply.

6.1 What are the benefits of the change:

  • To the company.
  • To the team.
  • To each individual.

6.2 What will the end result look like:

  • Give people a chance to visualize their future after the change.
  • Give them an activity to do, during which they can act out the role they will play in the future.

6.3 How will the change be implemented?

  • What are the phases/steps?
  • When will each occur?

6.4 What roles will be played?

6.5 What support will each role player receive?

  • What training/tools/support will be given to each role player to ensure they: Understand their role? Feel they have the support and tools they need? Communicate the same message about the change to others.

6.6 How will you reinforce behaviour?

  • What rewards will you give to people who actively support the change?
  • What sanctions will their be for saboteurs?

6.7 Questions you should you be prepared to answer when communicating change.

What will you do to:

  • fear-of-changeOvercome fear.
  • Compensate people whose roles/status will be worsened as a result of the change.
  • Create heroes.
  • Encourage people to discover their special gifts and talents and use them during the change process.
  • Treat people as though they are special.
  • Make the change process a magical adventure of self discovery.
  • Inject magic, fun and creativity into the change.
  • Support your company’s vision/values as you implement the change?
  • Ensure the change stays on track?

Why should this change/implementation work, when previous ones have failed?

Give people a chance to participate.

One of the secrets of getting buy-in to any change is ‘participation’. When people participate in planning how the change will impact on them, they are less likely to resist change. So let employees communicate:

  • Their hopes, fears and ideas on how to make the change work.
  • Their vision of the future after the change has been implemented.
  • The contribution they’d like to make to the change – using their own special talents and strengths.
  • What they can do ensure their team and the company achieve the benefits they want.

A final word on change management, resistance and buy-in

When people resist change, they are not ‘being difficult’. Rather they have a real reason why the change will not work, or will not benefit them.

  • As the ‘author’ of your change process, you can choose to win them over with a well conceived plan,
  • or you could choose to push them into a situation where they feel trapped, and thus create drama and conflict.

The choice is yours.

You may also like:

Tools to use to develop a change strategy.

  • change-puzzle-kitThe change puzzle kit A systems thinking and organizational development diagnostics tool. Diagnose an organization. Understand the impact of your change on every element of your organization. Identify what needs to be in place to support your change. Understand culture. Identify core changes.
  • change-strategy-toolkitWinning the game of change Develop a change management or organizational development strategy for your organization or project. Use the 64 cards to choose practical interventions for your strategy.

Tools to use to implement a change strategy.

  • magic-change-toolkitMagic change toolkit An exciting change management toolkit for change agents. Filled with recipe cards or activities to manage any change, reduce resistance and build excitement.

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