When it comes to the change that will affect an organization, there are two primary types: the change caused by external circumstances, and change that an organization imposes on itself to further growth and encourage constant improvement. When it comes to the future success of your organization, you want to induce the change, not have external factors force you to change.
This process is known as change management. A change management system can achieve excellent results for many organizations as they navigate the sometimes-troubling waters of the marketplace. While many companies can find success with their program right off the bat, in our experience we’ve seen that many more businesses struggle to keep the program in place for longer than a few months or in worse cases, weeks.
Today we’re going to provide you with some tips and guidance to help make sure your change management program for Key Account Management sticks around long enough to see real results! It’s best if you use this advice at the start of the implementation process, but if you’re in the middle of getting your change management program off the ground, it’s better to use these tips now rather than later.
Your Formula is Your Strategy
Implementing a change management program that actually works for your Key Account Management team doesn’t need to be a challenge if you follow the right steps. Much like you follow a mathematical formula to reach your desired outcome, you can do the same for your change management program too.
We like to think of change management strategies like formulas for this reason. It all starts with a desired outcome. Ask yourself, what do you hope to achieve with this change management program? What does ideal success look like? It’s often best to start with the right answer and then work backward to determine the correct equation and strategy.
Throughout the formula, you’ll find addition and subtraction symbols. These are essentially the places where you will stop and reflect on the progress you’ve made through the implementation process. You might also need to make some adjustments too, which is why you should make sure that your implementation program is flexible and allows for room for improvement.
Finally, you should determine your defined actions. These are the exact steps that you’ll take to make sure that everyone is onboard with the program and your goals are clearly defined. Throughout times of change, it can be easy to lose track of the bigger picture, which is why these moments of reflection and defined actions are crucial to your success.
Tell a Story to Get the Buy-in
People don’t like any sudden change in the way that they do things. Everyone has their own workflow, and something as disruptive as a change management program could throw a serious monkey wrench in the gears of your organization if your team isn’t ready.
Getting the buy-in for a change management program goes further than just getting your executives onboard. In fact, you should seek the buy-in from individuals at every level of the organization. Change management programs are organization-wide efforts, and if some departments are holdouts, you’ll have a hard time keeping the program around for longer than a couple of weeks.
To help you get the buy-in, you should first seek out the influencers throughout the organization. While you want a buy-in at every level, we don’t mean every single person. Getting the approval of everyone takes time, and you’re never going to please everyone. Instead, you should focus on the department managers, team leaders, and anyone that has influence.
If you can get them onboard, you can slowly but surely get everyone onboard with the new change management program. Tell a story about the importance of this new change management program and how it can significantly improve your company’s outcomes and the work of your key account managers.
Define the Benefits at Every Level
Chances are as you tell your story and display the benefits to other members on your organization, they’re going to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Everyone is selfish in nature and will naturally have an inward mindset. We care about how something will help us, not how it can improve the lives of everyone within the organization. It sounds selfish, but it’s just natural. Developing an outward mindset takes time, and there are entire online courses dedicated to the art of adopting this mentality.
Even so, defining the benefits that every level and department will experience is crucial to the continued success of your change management program. Put yourself in their shoes; what do they want the most? Even when it comes to the lower levels of the organization, how could they benefit from the success of this new change management program? Would they experience less risk in their jobs? Could they grow their accounts faster? Will they increase their sales numbers?
Whatever the case may be, talk to the leaders and influencers of these departments and show them how this change management program will work. Don’t leave them with empty promises either — they need a tangible goal to dream about, so they are more willing to stick with the program even if it takes a period for it to get off the ground.
Acknowledge and Reward Success
After the change management program is in place and every department is on board and following it, you can’t ignore them. Failing to acknowledge the success that they are having will make them question the program, and they’ll ask themselves, “If nobody notices the progress we’ve made with this program, what’s the point?”
You want this program to stay in place as your organization undergoes change and positive reinforcement is a must to keep every team moving forward. Whether it’s bonuses or other concessions, you must show every team that you appreciate the work they’ve done, and thank them for shifting their work to match the organization’s change strategies.