Meeting image credit Photo by rawpixel on UnsplashGaining team buy-in is critical to implementing a new system or process. Many companies do a great job selecting a system or process that will yield new efficiencies. However, it’s just as important to focus on the people affected by the change. The two ways you do this are through team communication and involvement.

In this article, we’ll talk about best practices for implementing effective change management with communication and involvement. Leaders in the service industry must be prepared to deal with change during a project’s lifespan because their product is their people — and people can be extremely unpredictable.

What is Change Management?

Change management is a process that ensures all standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes. This minimizes the impact of change-related incidents upon service quality and also improves the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Change Management in the Service-Level Economy

Proper change management is a requirement, not an option in the Service-Level Economy. Due to quick project timelines, emerging technologies, increased project complexities and the demand for resource specialization, delivering projects is increasingly difficult in today’s economy. This is exactly why change management has never been more important.

Without processes in place to properly handle change along the project lifespan, many businesses fail to keep up with the competition. Change, such as a shifting project scope or new resource, can have a major impact on project delivery and profitability. Ensure all processes are in place so you can react in real time to optimize operations and increase margins.

The quick pace of the service-level economy makes change management a new priority for today’s service leaders. Because projects occur so often, typically with shorter timelines, the window to react to change is greatly reduced. This means service leaders must be proactive and prepared for change, or they will very likely experience failed or unprofitable projects.

The Five Steps to Effective Change Management

1. Represent Your End Users

During your decision process, be sure to represent your end users. For each user role, have a well-respected team lead or influential manager present to reflect that stakeholder group. This person understands the needs of his or her team and can report back on progress made during decision meetings. This gives your users a voice to address concerns or requests.

Before your meetings adjourn, make sure your team representatives are on the same page regarding the decisions that were made. This ensures they go back and report the same progress to their teams while avoiding biases. When managers update their team members, end users feel more secure knowing their interests are represented — and they become more receptive to the change.

2. Stop Rumors Fast

Proactively updating your organization should stop the rumor mill from spreading. A void of updates can cause employees to feel anxiety and confusion about the system being chosen.

If a rumor does surface, set the record straight right away. Address the concern that is reflected in the rumor and explain the facts of the decision-making process and logic behind it.

3. Speak to Your Users’ Needs

It’s no secret that systems and processes are meant to increase overall organizational efficiency. This could be cost cutting, productivity improvements or generating more revenue. Your end users are probably more worried about their daily tasks than the overall company efficiencies. When you sell the new system internally, it’s important to speak to these values.

Ask yourself, “What do my end users care about which this system fixes?” This is the communication you should lead with to show how the new system adds value to their day. It might cut email, reduce steps in a workflow, save them a manual process, teach them a new technology skill, or something similar. When your end users see the new system adds value to their life, they will be more likely to adopt it.

4. Share Personal Experience with the New System

Find someone at your company that has used this system, or something similar, in the past. Have this person offer a session, perhaps over lunch, where he or she can touch on their personal experience with the system. Open the talk to a Q&A so users can directly voice their fears with the product. Have the speaker address the questions to the best of their knowledge.

By understanding what to expect with the new system and reducing unknowns, your users can significantly reduce the stress associated with change management.

5. Set Your Team Up for Success

Your teams need to use one system today and easily transition to the new one tomorrow. When you flip the switch on the new system, make sure your employees are equipped and confident in their new workflows. This means giving them the training, hardware, software, documentation, and point of contact they need to be both comfortable and successful

Key takeaways

Communication is core to effective change management. This includes proactive and reactive communication. Remember to:

  • Represent all stakeholders before the decision is made
  • Keep end users in the loop
  • Curb rumors quickly
  • Offer a Q&A with someone who has used the new system
  • Set your end users up for success

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