5 things to keep in mind for successful change
- Create visible short term wins
Help customers and staff to see the benefits of change in the short term. Make smaller, lower-cost, high-impact changes quickly, and circulate positive feedback to encourage customers and staff to stick with, and even celebrate, the transition.
- Consider your timing
Decide on the best time to instigate specific change initiatives. For example, are there peak periods of service delivery, resource commitment, or interdependencies whose implementation can be aligned for efficiency or best impact?
- Be realistic
It’s easy to start things! But sustaining momentum for long term change can be a challenge. Balance enthusiasm with realism to ensure that momentum for change is not lost due to disappointed expectations – prepare your team to win a marathon!
Effective communication may be the single most important factor in delivering successful change. Communicate your vision and strategic intent clearly. Be honest and encourage two-way discussion, especially when things diverge from your plan!
Involve, don’t impose
Most initiatives fail because of a lack of recognition of the importance of culture. Understand, anticipate and develop engagement and communication tactics that acknowledge and harness the values and behaviours of customers and staff.
Business and cultural change requirements
Successful business change requires:
- practical resource allocation to ensure a sustainable, flexible and efficient application of time, effort and money to implementing the Strategy from adoption to completion, including cost-benefit analyses where appropriate
- workforce assessment and planning to determine the current and future structure, nature and capability of Council’s customer-facing service delivery workforce, as well as a plan for transitioning staff whose roles are significantly affected by change
- an endorsed and detailed implementation plan with clear milestones, timeframes, actions and deliverables, backed by interdependency mapping and communicated effectively to ensure alignment with other reforms, projects and initiatives
- a risk management plan that allows the proactive identification, mitigation and management of risks and issues throughout implementation
- an evaluation framework that allows Council to measure the progress and success of the implementation, inform decision making and provide an evidence base for required adjustments (see Initiative 5.2).
Successful cultural change requires:
- shared vision and direction articulated and championed from the top down, to ensure a clear and common understanding of what Council is trying to achieve with its Customer Experience Improvement Strategy, and why
- clear roles and responsibilities that are agreed and understood across Council for both the implementation and future management of the new Strategy
- regular, open communications that provides up-to-date, transparent and two-way mechanisms for Council staff to communicate, understand and influence the change
- staff training and support to ensure everyone is brought along on the journey, shares ownership, and is ready and able to take on the change wherever it affects them, their colleagues and their customers
- reflection practice to build a comfortable and embedded culture of constructive, open and inclusive evaluation and knowledge sharing, to foster continuous improvement, learning, innovation, pride and satisfaction amongst staff at all levels.