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unicorn of change

For many organizations, change management is an elusive creature whose habitat occupies a few abstract realms: culture, values and behaviors.  While project timelines and milestones guide an organization through a software implementation, managing change is not accomplished with a tactical checklist. 

Effective change management is impossible without clear, consistent communication.  If managing change boils down to a single concept, it is communication. 

The project sponsor should spearhead change management efforts with the support of the implementation team. These efforts are ongoing—from vendor selection to implementation to launch and adoption.  Change management should be viewed as a process, not an event. 


A successful change management strategy 

  1. Begins when the project vision is defined and communicated to stakeholders (board, staff, funders, grantees and investment partners).  
  2. Establishes an unwavering cadence for project updates to stakeholders.  Consistency is crucial. 
  3. Includes an ongoing process to address staff questions and concerns related to technology transformation, which may include: 
  4. How much time will I be expected to give to the project? 
  5. Will my job duties change as a result of the implementation? 
  6. How will I be trained and provided with ongoing technical support? 
  7. Will I be expected to train new staff in the future? 
  8. How will I be expected to support our funding partners should they have questions? 
  9. Leverages early-adopters and enrolls resisters, understanding that everyone absorbs change at their own pace. 
  10. Adapts to the different phases of the implementation—change concerns at the onset will be very different from change concerns that arise at launch or during subsequent project phases. 

Managing change is akin to tending a garden: heroic, one-off efforts won’t cut it.  A successful change management effort leaves everyone feeling included, informed and excited. 

Next article in this series: 

Don’t Languish in Decision Purgatory 

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