We live in a world where change can feel constant. Yet, far from finding it an easy process to manage, change brings certain challenges: uncertainty, insecurity and a lack of trust. Regardless of what the change is; forming a new team or installing a new IT system, it’s still a daunting prospect.

At Nexus we were recently invited to talk to Safe Space Tea Break on ways to successfully navigate change. We created a guide with clear, practical steps to help organisations navigate the choppy waters of change:

Problem: There is no sense of urgency.

Action: Create a sense of urgency.

  • What is the injustice and why do we need to do something about it? 
  • Start honest discussions and give convincing reasons to get people talking, thinking, and wanting to act.  
  • Identify possible threats and develop scenarios to show what the future could look like.  

Problem: The wrong people are involved.

Action: Create a credible coalition.

  • Find the early adopters and encourage them to help. 
  • Identify true leaders in your organisation and ask for their emotional commitment.  
  • Work on team building, ensuring there are a good mix of people from different departments with different grades. 

Problem: The vision is not clear.

Action: Start with the end in mind.

  • Be clear about what the vision looks like. 
  • Create a logical strategy for how the vision can be achieved. 
  • Describe the vision in one or two sentences. 
  • Practice your vision speech/elevator pitch. 

Problem: There is a lack of clear communication.

Action: Communicate at every opportunity.

  • Use as many ways as possible to communicate: townhalls, focus groups, team meetings or huddles, 121s, email video messages, social media. 
  • Make sure it is a 2-way process. Address concerns. 
  • Allow individuals to ask questions. 
  • Be open, honest, and transparent.  

Problem: There are too many obstacles in the way.

Action: Remove all obstacles quickly.

  • Get everyone involved right across the organisation. 
  • Give people opportunities to openly problem solve the issues. 
  • Identify opportunities to recruit or change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change. 
  • Identify the people who are resisting change and find out what they need to move forward.  

Problem: Levels of motivation drop.

Action: Create quick wins.

  • Acknowledging and communicating changes as they happen to show employees change is paying off.
  • Share success stories demonstrating the positive impact of change.
  • Keep people motivated by rewarding and recognising those who are on board with the change.

Problem: There is a lack of alignment between the old and the new.

Action: Build on gains.

  • Ensure all structures, systems and policies which do not align are changed i.e., mission, HR policies, IT systems.
  • Celebrate the achievement and make sure everyone’s achievement is recognised.
  • Analyse what went right and what need improving. Did we communicate effectively enough?
  • Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders into the coalition.

Problem: the change does not become part of the new culture.

Action: Make change part of the corporate culture.

  • Show how the organisational performance has been positively impacted by the new approach and behaviours.
  • Ensure senior people are role-modelling.
  • Storytelling to share the impact.
  • Make it stick.

During a time when the world has changed so much we need to be able to successfully manage and deliver change and remove some of the associated fear. Whether you are overcoming the challenges of remote working with your employees or creating a robust programme to remove bias from recruitment, we hope that our practical steps will help you build the foundations for fruitful change.

We also offer NEXUS – a series of affordable online workshops aimed at established voluntary sector leaders specifically to support them in flexing their leadership style in response to adversity and to promote a positive donor experience. Find out more about the first event on 5 October.