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A successful "change management" in 8 steps !

Dernière mise à jour : 22 févr. 2021

Something new in your company ? Think change management !

"Change management ? Why should we manage change ? What we are going to implement will allow everyone to work in better conditions and in a simpler and more harmonious way!"

OK, you're right (well, I hope). But it's not because you are convinced that the rest of the world is too. What could happen if your employees do not adhere to your changes?

  • Someone could get in the way during your project? Yes it's possible

  • Some people may make sure your project does not succeed? Yes, there are chances

  • That a large part of your employees find a good excuse not to use your new tools / services / processes? Yes, most definitely

And that's exactly what you risk if you do not take change management seriously.

When you decide to implement new tools / services / processes in your business, expect strong feedback from your employees. Even if you are convinced that the changes you are going to implement will help the greatest number and allow them to "work better", your employees will only see the negative impacts they will have to absorb.

Something new? This translates into uncertainty and fear, it also means questioning yourself:

Etapes du changement (Kübler Ross)

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There are many models / methods that make it possible to implement a good change management. ADKAR, Kotter are examples. These models, like cooking recipes, give you the steps to succeed.

However, it is clear that, despite the use of proven cooking recipes, most of the time, change management does not really go as planned. What are the causes ? Rarely the same from one project to another. But there is often a constant: the underestimation of the impact of changes made by the company on its employees.

In order that this curve is as smooth as possible, that the change affects your employees as little as possible, you must follow a few steps. Steps that may seem really obvious. That's right, this recipe is not a new one. Each of these steps is almost "predictable". And yet ... The more you prepare your change management upstream, by omitting any of these steps, the less your project will be rejected by your employees.

Managing Complex Change

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What are these miracle steps:

1. Define the products / services for which you want to manage the change

It is true that this step flows naturally. But again ... And yet ...

It seems so obvious to everyone that we often do not even take the time to document.

This unfortunate oversight brings very unpleasant misunderstandings. "It seemed logical, though, that if we talk about a change on tool A it implies a change in process B which is necessarily impacted, right?" ... Hum ... Not sure it's so "logical" for everybody!

To remedy these "hiccups", this time must be taken to write an exhaustive list of products / services / processes that will impact users.

Once this list is ready, try to match with these different products / services the positive reasons that make you decided to integrate these tools or services into your company:

  • what are the benefits for users?

  • how is it going to make their life easier every day?

  • how will this novelty allow the company to be more efficient?

  • ...

This list will be the basis for the rest of the recipe.

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2. Define the target of your change management

When dealing with change management, often the first questions or ideas are related to the format of the communications that will be made and / or the timing of communication.

To go directly in this direction is a little "putting the cart before the horse".

Do not think that you can manage change for all your employees in the same way. In fact, there are as many ways to communicate as impacted people.

Don't stress, you don't need to make a communication plan by collaborator. On the other hand, putting everyone in the same basket is not the best idea either.

How to do ? Simply by studying your collaborators and classifying them into groups of people with similar characteristics. I'm not talking about their hair color or their dress style ...

Rather, the idea is to find similarities in how these groups will be impacted and / or how they will respond to changes.

In a word, you must create personas! I will explain in a future article how to proceed.

Once you have created these employee avatars, you must understand and document:

  • which product / service / process impacts which persona,

  • what avatars will be totally recalcitrant, those who can help you make the adoption of the novelties, those who will ask you the most work of adoption, ...

  • what is the personality type of each avatar, and therefore what is the best way to communicate with him,

  • ...

Once this step is over, that's it ! you did most of the preparation and for most people the least fun part of the change management!

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3. Define what is the best way to communicate for each pair persona / service.

Now that you have a list of personas and their characteristics, you need to determine what will be the best way to communicate with each of them:

  1. Organize face-to-face training

  2. Organize online training