Manager’s role in driving change

Your role is to initiate needed changes as well as to champion changes that start elsewhere and affect your team.  Some key points:

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Lay the groundwork for change – Staff members need to understand what is being considered and what the potential impacts might be. Involve them in discussions where you jointly assess areas that need to be strengthened, the rationale, what and who is affected, and discuss views about benefits and possible risks.
 
Stretch the team – A common concern is about the effects of a change initiative on roles and responsibilities. Many changes can actually provide growth opportunities when staff members take on challenging assignments during transitions. Look for the ways to give people meaningful roles in the change that enhance their skills and help to move the agenda forward.
 
Communicate continuously – This is the key action a manager can take, and the one most often underused. Share all the information you have as soon as you can. You want to be ahead of the grapevine which is operating continuously, factually and not. When you supply the information, regularly and transparently, you earn trust within your team. They will be more likely to bring their concerns to you, as well as what they are hearing. Below is a guide for managers on how to carry out change discussions. It is oriented around Umoja but the discussion process described can be used for other topics.
 
Develop plans for now, later and after – Help the staff to perform during continuous change by adjusting work process and projects as needed to reflect the phases of the change. Encourage the staff to think through work process challenges that arise and develop options while the larger change is taking place.
 
Keep an open and optimistic mood – There are high and low moments in any transition. Encourage the team forward, recognize what is achieved, and allow space for the tough spots to be acknowledged and learned from. A recommended resource for you and the team is the classic book, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges (available online) that addresses all aspects of change impacts, seeing change through effectively, leading others through change, and even tapping into creativity and innovation in a change context.  It includes checklists, how-to tips, and tactics for managers.

Below is a change management guide for managers on implementing change related to Umoja

Managers should also be aware of this guide designed to help individuals going through organizational change.


Important documents: