Welcome to 2023. Since it’s still early in the year, we’re all still on track with our plans for change in 2023, right? Hooray! Go us! And if we’re off track a bit, there’s still plenty of time to course correct. Because this time, our change is going to stick! And if it doesn’t stick, what’s the cause?
There are five key elements that need to be in place to ensure your next change initiative will be successful:
- Vision: Leadership must have a crystal-clear vision of the change, as well as being able to articulate the change to everyone impacted by it. No matter if the change is massive or minor, your vision should be shared widely to create a sense of urgency. Without a clear vision – or with conflicting communications regarding what will change – you’ll end up with confusion regarding the path you’re about to take. To be successful, your vision should include:
- Why are we changing now? What’s the sense of urgency?
- What improvements do we expect to come from this change?
- What exactly is changing, who will it impact, and how will we be impacted?
- Skills: While some of us enjoy change and look forward to whatever is coming our way, some folks are intimidated by change for a variety of reasons. Frequently, fear and anxiety come from an individual not feeling like they’ve been given the proper training and coaching to successfully implement whatever change is coming. If any individual feels like they lack the skills to successfully implement the desired change, the best you can hope for is a level of anxiety that will last until they feel equipped with the proper knowledge and expected new behaviors. Investing time in skill building will always pay off.
- Benefits: It’s important that both the key stakeholders in your change initiative and those who are affected by the change know the anticipated benefits to each of them personally. This takes more than a broad-brush approach and statements like “This will make things faster” or “This will improve our member experience.” A broad-brush of benefits will result in a half-hearted, gradual change rather than an all-in, sense of urgency toward the change. Encourage each manager – from the senior staff to the front-line managers – to meet with their direct reports one-on-one to not only determine the new skills and knowledge needed, but also to discuss the benefits specific to each individual. Everyone should be able to translate the vision into personal benefits, yet sometimes a bit of guidance is needed to uncover exactly what the positive impact will be. A 10–15-minute discussion will pay great dividends here. The excitement will be palpable to get this change implemented quickly!
- Resources: Facing facts, many of our departments and branches are understaffed and lacking a few critical updates. Yet sometimes we still have to forge ahead with changes even in the face a lack of certain assets. That said, not having the proper resources to fully implement the changes will result in frustration. Frustrated staff can lead to frustrated members. As you work through your action plan and budget for the upcoming change, be bold enough to factor in all the resources that will create success – whether that’s additional staff, more printers, flexible hours, or any other resources that will add to long-term success. You’re spending too much time, effort, and money on this change to hold back. Don’t scrimp on critical resources and jeopardize your success!
- Action Plan: A robust action plan with the details around who, what, when, where, and how, will helps us avoid false starts in our change. This is typically an area in which credit unions excel – keep up the good work!
Whatever changes you plan for 2023, keeping these 5 elements top of mind will help ensure success as you implement your strategic plan. Spending more time planning up front for changes will yield great dividends in the months ahead.
If you’re in the need of staff workshops, employee engagement, management motivation, or financial counseling education reach out to the team at CU Difference. Our combined experience in the credit union movement will help you and your team recognize, develop, and use the credit union difference to optimize the member experience, create an engaging staff experience, and build empathy.