3 Essential Elements of a Successful Change Management Plan

A change management plan is an essential tool for any organization that wants to successfully implement change. It is a comprehensive document that outlines the steps necessary to ensure a smooth transition and successful implementation of the desired change. The plan should include an analysis of the stakeholders and the impact of the change, a communication strategy, and a training plan. Vision is an important part of any change management plan.

It provides both a corporate sense of being and an enduring sense of purpose. In 1995, John Kotter, professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned change expert, presented his eight-step process of change in his book Leading Change. Kotter posits that, without a sensible vision, change efforts can dissolve into a list of confusing projects that take the organization in the wrong direction. He emphasizes that vision should be easy to communicate, especially for marketing teams that adopt performance management.

The CMO must create a sense of urgency, develop and communicate the vision, eliminate obstacles, achieve short-term achievements, strengthen change in culture and take advantage of change. Once you have a vision, the next thing you need is a method. The sponsorship plan is a core function plan recommended for the awareness, desire and reinforcement elements of the ADKAR model. This change management plan, implemented by the lead sponsor and other members of the coalition of sponsors, allows them to perform their functions effectively, stay active and visible, create a coalition of support, and communicate directly with employees. The Personnel Management Plan outlines the steps to involve managers in these change management activities. The plan begins by stating how the project team and the change management resources will generate commitment and train and prepare managers and supervisors for their role in a change.

Once onboard, managers and supervisors work with frontline employees to understand their needs and help them adopt and use the changes. People often mistakenly equate change management with communication. While many organizations have communication departments and many project teams create communication plans, they often don't recognize how communication fits into the larger process of change. Communication is a fundamental component of implementing change, but it is by no means the only requirement for success. The Communications Plan, a recommended basic business plan, focuses on the awareness-raising and reinforcement elements of the ADKAR model.

The Communications Plan identifies audiences, develops key messages and determines the frequency of communications, delivery mechanisms and senders. The training plan is another important element of any successful change management plan. It is one of the most commonly used change management plans and focuses on the knowledge and capacity elements of the ADKAR model. The plan is created by identifying different audiences that need training, performing a needs assessment and gap analysis, and documenting the requirements of the training organization. The sponsorship plan has the greatest impact on awareness, desire and reinforcement, while the people management plan influences all five elements of ADKAR. The Communications Plan has a major impact on awareness-raising and reinforcement.

The training plan mainly serves to enable knowledge and capacity. Before developing any specific change management plan, it is important to create an ADKAR plan to set the direction of a change initiative. In addition to training employees to use new systems, organizations should also introduce leaders to lead processes of change. Their attitudes toward change and their change management skills contribute directly to an organization's capacity for change and to its employees' acceptance of change. Effective strategic marketing leaders realize that change is part of continuous improvement; CMOs determined to survive embrace it by integrating it into their organization's foundation so workers can be proactive in delivering better business performance based on higher volumes of projects and changes programs. The execution of this strategic plan ensures that organizations implement changes faster than their competition by increasing their agility and flexibility to change.

Stakeholder participation includes all activities to engage, support and update stakeholders in organizational change management processes. Adopting a common approach involves establishing international standards established by an accredited professional body such as ACMP through implementation processes, tools, practices and common language at all levels of an organization. Change management keeps project stakeholders happy and motivated as organizations endure transitions of change. In all Prosci's benchmarking studies on best practices in change management effective sponsorship is constantly cited as the factor that most contributes to project success.

Madeline Credille
Madeline Credille

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