Author: Michael Yep, Customer Success Engineer
Innovation. Progress. Continuous Improvement.
These are things that we all strive for, especially in the manufacturing industry. When it comes to actually making steps toward growth, why is change so difficult?
Here at Amper, we understand your goals for improving conditions and facilitating change. After all, by partnering with us, you are seeking to adopt Amper factory-wide to discover your true manufacturing potential.
However, we also understand just how difficult it can be to initiate change on a company-wide scale. The end goal is grand, but the process to get there can often be a long and frustrating road.
From our collective industry experience and the success stories from some of our customers, we have consolidated 3 factors that are imperative to accomplishing Change Management:
👉 A downloadable PDF presentation outlining these concepts can be found at the end of this article.
The 3 C’s of Change Management
This is the first step, and it starts with you—the Change Manager. The coordination we’re talking about here is the coordination of your internal justifications for change.
Before attempting to spark any change, it is absolutely necessary that you solidify what exactly you want to do, and why.
- Define your goal
- Justify the why
- Recognize the potential impact
This means taking a step back and looking at your situation through a wider lens.
The most important point here is to identify your “why”. Knowing why you do something provides more motivation than simply setting a goal. If the “why” is not justified, then motivation will deteriorate and change will not happen.
Establish a justification for the time and energy you are about to ask of your team. There is a huge difference in the work to follow when you take the time to coordinate your reasons for change at the onset of your initiative. You will be confident in your goal because you will have a clear vision for the potential impact of this change.
Once you’ve done the internal work to define your goal, justify your “why”, and have recognized the potential impact of change, you will have to make a plan.
Create a Plan
Creating a success plan helps to consolidate your vision before any work is done. Once you get started on tackling your goal, it can be easy to lose sight of why you are doing it in the first place. Having a documented plan can be a practical way to stay motivated.
🗣️ Speak with your Customer Success Representative to help build your plan.
Customers that actively refer to this document with their Customer Success Managers have seen a larger pay off in their projects, as consistently referencing goals and KPIs provides motivation for projects.
Establish Milestones with Tasks and Timelines
Be sure to set milestones for next steps. Breaking down your big picture goal into achievable milestones will help keep you on track.
Provide Your Team with Necessary Resources
You will need the help of your team to accomplish the milestones for your goal, so provide them the resources they need to complete it. Listen to their input and suggestions, because collective problem solving not only widens the possibility of an ideal solution—but it gives each team member agency and a feeling of ownership in a project. While difficult to measure, this alone can greatly impact the willingness of someone to do their part, and do it well.
As a part of planning for change, you need to think about how to communicate this change to the rest of your organization. This transitions well into our second C of Change Management, as once you are coordinated on your goal and your plan, it is absolutely necessary to communicate it to everyone that the change will impact—and just as important to consider how the information is shared.
Now that you’ve established your goals, the “why”, and the potential impacts of your change initiative, you must communicate that to your organization and everyone that the change affects.
Share the “Why”
It happens often. The Change Manager establishes the plan but doesn’t fully communicate it to those that the change impacts. Your teams’ perspective and interpretations of your communication is important. It is natural as humans to ask why and fill in the gaps. So, instead of making your employees guess, share your “why” at the forefront of the change initiative.
When the goal, impact, and “why” are never communicated to the entire team—it becomes nearly impossible to adopt a new process, and any chance of culture change fails.
Be Clear About Outcomes & Expectations
Once you share the “why”, describe the potential impact of the change and be clear about what you are expecting the team to do.
When change happens, the questions that often follow are: “How is this going to affect me?” and “What do I need to do differently, if anything?”
If you can answer these questions from the start, it aligns the entire team toward the goals that were set during your coordination phase.
Equip your employees so they can do what you are asking of them. You can tell people what your goal is and what is expected of them, but as the Change Manager it is your responsibility to provide the resources and training necessary to create the culture and encourage the behavior you envision.
Establish an Audit Schedule/Period
Follow through and check in with the progress of the desired outcomes and expectations. If you tell people that you expect a new behavior from them, but never follow up on how they are experiencing the process, the goal and the “why” can easily disappear in the busyness of operations. By establishing structures around your initiative, you are reinforcing the change and setting processes to remind your team of the goal.
You, as the Change Manager, carry a connection to the initiative. What do you think the perception of your team would be if you dropped a project on them but did not make yourself available for the actual change process? As a leader, it is your responsibility to not only establish vision but to champion the process. When you are confident in the change you are implementing and follow through with supporting your team, they become confident in the work they are doing toward your collective goals.
Once you have coordinated the goal and communicated the vision to your team, the last piece is to maintain commitment to the change. Ultimately, commitment is a mindset that helps to sustain coordination and communication, but there are a few ways that you can create a culture of commitment across your organization.
Inform Your Employees of the Progress
Change takes time. It will be a process, so it is important to be transparent with the progress.
Set up structures and communication cadences to talk about the change initiative on a regular basis.
With Amper, you can use some of the tools provided to create visualization and inform your employees of your progress.
Non-adherence is difficult to deal with, but it must be addressed for successful culture change. For these cases, team members that are not adhering with the new structures, processes, or practices usually have reasons for not following. This is where the second “C” of Communication comes into play again. Be available and open to your employees’ experiences, because your change initiative often affects their work.
Amper customers who leave space for open feedback and communication loops accomplish two things:
- Establish trust
- Expand potential for better solutions
By asking why someone is or is not doing what is asked of them, you are opening a channel for constructive dialogue. Listening to your employees can establish a culture of trust and is often mutually beneficial.
Since operators are the experts of their processes, often times they have the best resource for improvement ideas. If you never take the time to hear their experience, you are actively preventing collaboration and are limiting the potential for a best solution.
If the individual still is not adhering, then speaking with them offers you the chance to share your “why” and remind them of the potential impacts of the change, and how they can play a role in it.
Celebrate Wins and Best Practices
This is one of the simplest things you can do as a Change Manager, but is often overlooked and not even considered in change initiatives. If you have employees that exemplify best practices that aid the change you are looking for, let your entire team know and reward them for it! These rewards can look like an “Employee of the Month” parking spot closest to the building entrance, company merchandise, monetary rewards, etc.
How you celebrate wins and best practices is completely up to you, but the benefits of simply acknowledging desired performance is one of the most effective ways to encourage change.
If you take a moment to reflect on past experiences with change management, whether initiated by you or someone else, the ones that are not executed well often lack at least one of the 3 C’s. Each factor goes hand in hand, and are very effective in creating guidance and structure during change management.
We strongly suggest sharing this with your team, as the 3 C’s themselves point out the effectiveness of pursuing change management together.
The link to a downloadable PDF presentation is below, and if you have any further questions you can contact your Amper CSE.