Change Management Plan: the theory and steps explained and a template

Change Management Plan - Toolshero

Change management plan: This article explains the change management plan in a practical way. The article starts with information about the necessity of having a good change management plan, followed by a handy step-by-step guide on how to create a change management plan. The article also contains a downloadable template to get started right away with drawing up an effective change management plan yourself. Enjoy reading!

What is a change management plan?

Change can be difficult. Countless companies have come to that conclusion since the existence of the company. Most attempts at change fail because of a lack of understanding among employees. This lack of understanding is mainly about the change in the dynamics in the organization. Running businesses work like a biological system that is in balance by resisting influences and interruptions. The system as a whole therefore routinely resists attempts to change the organization.

Successful change initiatives therefore require a structured approach and sufficient staff resources. Communication is a key word here. The most important part of any change initiative is selling it. An important element of the change management plan is therefore a communications plan. Many organizations treat these initiatives according to project management principles.

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Preparation is crucial. The result of this preparation is the so-called change management plan. This plan serves as a blueprint or roadmap for the initiative. All concrete steps that need to be taken are included in this project plan, including all tools and methods that are used. The new job roles and responsibilities of employees are also included.

Examples of types of change management methods

Some examples of these tools and methods are:

While all of these models and theories are popular, Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model is probably the most widely used. The model consists of eight steps that an organization must go through in order to properly manage the process. This makes it a suitable model on which to base a complete change management plan.

The model starts with identifying a reason for change within an organization and collecting and analyzing data to understand the status quo. The next step is to develop a strong vision and strategy for the desired future situation. This includes communicating with stakeholders, building empowerment among employees, developing an implementation plan and choosing an evaluation method to measure the success of the initiative.

Core elements in a change management plan

In summary, a successful change management plan should contain at least the following elements:

  1. Valid arguments for change
  2. A communications plan
  3. Management of resistance among employees
  4. A method of measuring progress
  5. An implementation plan, including evaluation method and training plan

Step-by-step plan for developing a change management plan

Change is daunting in many cases, as we’ve seen, but a strategic plan can help ease any tension and resistance. Follow the next steps in the change management process.

Step 1: Assemble a team

Rome was not built in a day, and certainly not by one person. A good plan therefore requires teamwork. Putting together and building a strong team is therefore the first step. Many change management teams consist of people from all levels of the organization. It is important that team members can spend time working on this initiative.

Executives will come to the conference table with a different perspective than entry-level people. Both voices need to be heard. Make sure management roles are clear and that leaders obtain information in advance from the people below them about the topic being discussed. They can often provide valuable information about day-to-day operations. Also, have leaders submit a change request form or plan for what they want to discuss and address.

Step 2: Set goals

Determine which goals must be achieved at the end of the transition phase to the new status quo. This means that you must have a clear picture of what you want the organization to look like when the changes are complete. Understand how the desired change affects your staff, your customers and your partners. Do customers need to be informed about the change? Or does a supplier have to adjust the equipment supplied in order to meet the changes and new wishes?

Try to inform as many people as possible on time and keep them satisfied.

Reinforce each goal by assigning a key performance indicator (KPI). This is a measurable piece of information that says something about the effectiveness of the progress of a goal.

Step 3: Write a change management plan

Now that the team has been established and the objectives are clear, it is time to create the actual change management plan. Templates are a useful tool for this, so make sure to use the Toolshero change management template and adjust it to your liking. Prepare a checklist of the tasks to be performed and include each item that the team needs to accomplish. Also give staff the opportunity to provide feedback on the plan. Clear communication is essential.

Set up a timeline when the checklist is complete. Consider important things like interim deadlines and the date the project moves into the transition phase. If necessary, use a good project management tool. In many cases this is sensible because change depends on many variables.

Step 4: Execute the plan

The plan is complete, the timeline is clear and the checklist is ready. Start implementing the plan now. It is important to establish the decision-making process timely. How does the team deal with unforeseen circumstances? How are surprises handled? Who makes decisions about timelines and delays?

Keep everyone on the team excited through clear and positive communication. Share successes with management, encourage employees and offer them plenty of opportunities to vent when they encounter problems. Also consider giving rewards to departments and key people who are the first to adopt the changes well.

Step 5: Keep supporting

The change has probably been fully implemented at this point, but it remains necessary to keep monitoring before a new status quo can be spoken of. Keep communicating clearly and keep repeating the usefulness of the change. Provide help to those in need and address problems early. Problems can easily grow into bigger problems if timely action is not taken at the start of the post-transition phase.

Step 6: Expect resistance

As seen, many people find it difficult to change what they are used to. It is almost certain that at least someone will oppose the proposed changes. Even after the initiative has been implemented, resistance can remain. How you respond to this resistance is very important. Therefore, develop a plan on how to deal with resistance.

Change Management Plan template

To write a Change Management Plan, you can use this ready-to-use template / worksheet in a .DOC format.

Download the Change Management Plan template

This template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!

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Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about the change management plan? Is sufficient effort being made in your work environment to create support for change initiatives? Or do you feel that the staff is thrown into the deep end when there is a change? Do you have any tips or comments about this article? Or are you still missing information on a topic related to change management?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. By, R. T. (2005). Organisational change management: A critical review. Journal of change management, 5(4), 369-380.
  2. Orlikowski, W. J., & Hofman, J. D. (1997). An improvisational model for change management: The case of groupware technologies. Sloan management review, 38(2), l.
  3. Siebert, S., Paton, R. A., & McCalman, J. (2015). Change management: A guide to effective implementation. Change Management, 1-336.
  4. Torppa, C. B., & Smith, K. L. (2011). Organizational change management: A test of the effectiveness of a communication plan. Communication Research Reports, 28(1), 62-73.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2023). Change Management Plan. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/change-management/change-management-plan/

Published on: 02/08/2023 | Last update: 02/27/2023

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