I’ve been watching the TSA policy implementation debacle with interest over the past few days and like most policy revisions that don’t follow a systematic change management model – it’s a disaster.
It’s been said that people hate change, that’s not true – people hate someone else demanding they change with no regard for their concerns, questions or needs. Responsible change management involves Planning for the coming change, Managing the change once it’s been implemented and then reinforcing the change to ensure it “sticks”.
So, how can you ensure your changes run smoothly?
1. Consider WHY you’re making the change – is there a bona fide reason for the change or do you just want to put your name on something new?
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate! To ensure a smooth transition, you should take all necessary steps to inform your customers (both internal and external) that a change is coming and why, in other words, increase their awareness.
3. If the change is a game changer, conduct a beta test before rolling it out to the entire population. This approach will allow you to test your assumptions and seek meaningful feedback on a small, manageable scale before launching a sweeping, global change.
4. Sell the change to your customers. Not only do they have to be made aware of the coming change, they have WANT the change by understanding what’s in it for them.
5. Help your customers understand HOW to change. In other words, help them understand WHAT they should do differently.
6. Information and Training – Provide customers with the knowledge necessary to effectively make the change.
7. Don’t be arrogant – listen to customer feedback and try to make compromises without impeding the integrity of the project. Remember, no one wins with a “my way or the highway” approach.
8. Reinforce the change to ensure sustainability over the long haul.
9. Continuously review the effectiveness of the change to determine if tweaks are necessary to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
10. LISTEN and be willing to change yourself.
Customers of the TSA are planning a boycott of the new policy this Wednesday – the busiest travel day of the year. Such rebellion is a common reaction of people who perceive they are being changed rather than participating in the change. By implementing these simple principles, you can ensure that your change initiatives are more successful than TSAs have been. Remember, treat people the way you would want to be treated.