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Change Management Series: How to Achieve Sustainable Change

November 8, 2022

by Brenda Crosby, LSSBB

Your team is ready, the problem has been identified, and you want to implement a solution. What’s holding you back? This next step of the change journey is where issue meets action. In this article—the third installment of our series on change management—we’ll give you tips to move forward to implement and sustain change.

Get input and ideas from a wide range of people.

Communicate and collaborate with resources and stakeholders—your organization’s process owners and subject matter experts. Include staff members who work directly with the process, as well as others who interact with it. Be aware of your assumptions or bias against new ideas. Collaborating with new and experienced staff is a great way to open collaboration to new ideas. End users, which could include internal or external customers, clients, and vendors, may also be a good resource for input and collaboration.

The first solution may not be the best.

Be sure the solution is not addressing only a symptom of the greater issue; look to solve the problem at its root cause. With the root cause identified, as your team determines solutions, assess the solutions’ effort and impact. A solution may be quick and easy to implement, or it may require greater effort and involve multiple resources. Evaluate the solution’s impact on the process and the organization. Determine if the resolution will have an incremental impact or will have a significant effect across the organization. The level of effort or the impact does not make a solution good or bad, this assessment looks to offer a way to evaluate and prioritize your recommended solution.

Narrow your focus.

As the top solutions begin to emerge, don’t stop your discovery process too soon. Do research, participate in demos, and talk with organizations that have implemented similar changes. Evaluate each solution’s budget, timeline, and resource requirements.

Confer your team’s findings, discovery, and recommendations to organization leaders. Share the issue’s root cause, the process taken to determine and evaluate the best solution. Present the recommended solutions’ requirements, budgets, and timelines. Don’t forget to include the solutions weighted effort to impact. Share a draft outline of the milestone steps of the recommended change. Be confident in your change process so far; be open to and welcome questions.

Prove the right solution.

With your solution narrowing, depending upon the scope and scale of the change, proof of concept by modeling and testing the solution before committing significant resources may be needed. This level of due diligence—as part of the problem-solving process—will continue to build your team’s confidence that the best solution is being implemented.

You manage change, change does not manage you.

Change management is a marathon not a sprint. It takes time, effort, communication, and planning to complete a change journey. Continuous improvement is not a train you pull, it’s a path you walk one step at a time, with curiosity, communication, collaboration, and commitment. Continuous improvement is not “hurry up and be perfect”, it’s never settling and always looking for ways to be better than you were yesterday.

If you have questions or would like support through your change journey, our Abdo team is here to help. Contact us today.


Meet the Expert

Brenda Crosby, Process Optimization Manager

With a passion for processes, Brenda guides clients through change management, operational evaluation, and provides creative solutions for process improvement.

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