A well-defined change management strategy can make the difference between successfully leading change within an organization and not. There are many reasons to strategize for change – to change your corporate culture, to cut costs, to innovate, to grow, to implement new technologies. Unfortunately, many organizations fail in their attempts to implement changes because they do not have a well-defined strategy. So how does an organization go about defining a strategy for change? Most experts agree that a holistic approach that addresses the need for continuous change is the best approach. While the process may seem complex, when you complete one step at a time it can actually be quite manageable. If your organization is interested in defining an effective strategy for leading change, make sure to complete the following steps and you should be on the road to your desired future state.

The Steps to Defining Your Organization’s Strategy for Change

Define Your Vision for Change

Whatever it is that you’re trying to change, from your corporate culture to your technology tools, you will require a vision. Developing a vision for change allows decision makers within an organization to define a specific set of appropriate strategies for achieving that vision.

Define the Need for Change

In order to create a sense of urgency and keep all the key stakeholders engaged with the transition ahead, it’s important to define the reasons why this change is necessary. This will help all members of the organization understand the benefits of the changes in store and see why it’s important to do their part to ensure a successful transition.

Define the Roles and Responsibilities

Once you have defined the reasons why change is necessary, then it’s time to determine who will be responsible for what. It’s important to put together a coalition of leaders to take charge of various projects in the transition, to assign responsibilities to members of their teams and, perhaps most importantly, to create an environment that supports teamwork. People are going to need to work together in order to successfully implement change, and they’re going to need to be held accountable for their responsibilities in this effort.

Define Your Communication Efforts

Implementing change requires effective communication through every level of an organization. It’s necessary to communicate your vision to as many members of the organization as possible so they will get on board and stay on board throughout the transition. And remember, communication is a two-way street. Simply telling people what they have to do without being there to listen to their questions and concerns will not work in the long-run.

Define and Remove Your Obstacles

There are sure to be some obstacles standing in the way of implementing changes in your organization. Once you have defined the obstacles, then you can set about removing them. It’s important to be as open-minded as possible in this step of the process in order to create an environment that supports sustainable growth and innovation.

Define a Roadmap for Change

While your ultimate goals may be very far off, there are likely a number of short-term goals that must be completed on the road to your ultimate desired future state. By creating a roadmap of all your desired achievements, members of your organization can understand the future vision more clearly, and begin crossing action items off the to-do list immediately. It’s also important to recognize the achievements of individuals and teams whenever milestones are reached during this process.

Define a Strategy for Continued Change

While short-term achievements are being reached, it’s also necessary to define your organization’s strategies for sustainable change and modify your vision as you go along. Don’t be afraid to take a different course when it appears that certain strategies aren’t working or to get outside help when new roadblocks appear in your path. It may be necessary to work with a consulting team or hire new employees to implement your desired changes effectively.

Define the End Goal of Your Transition

You undoubtedly have a vision for what you’re trying to achieve with the changes in your organization. It’s necessary to have a specific picture of the end goal so key stakeholders know when the transition is complete. Only then can your change management strategy be complete.