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A Change Checklist for Leaders

Even the right changes are often botched in process. Use this checklist to attack the “before, during, and after” to make sure change sticks.
COLLABORATORS Maya Townsend, Aubrey Daniels
How to enact change at your organization
photo by flickr user Monica R.

Deciding what to change is one thing. Making changes stick is another. To improve your odds, use this Change Leadership Checklist from Partnering Resources, a consulting firm founded by Maya Townsend (@mayapare). Its purpose: Identify the key stages of the change process and pose questions that could help ensure a good result.

Steps Key Questions
1. Laying the Foundation Why is change necessary? How can we say this so employees will understand?
What is the end state vision? How clear and compelling is this vision?
Who will form the guiding coalition? Who will help with the change?
What will tell us that we’ve been successful?
2. Learning What You Need to Know What’s actually going to change? What will people have to give up?
Do people have the skills needed to implement and adopt the new system?
How well do people trust their leadership?
Who are the informal leaders who can help advocate for the change?
3. Planning the Process When and how will the change be introduced and reinforced?
How can we remove obstacles and amplify wins?
What communications will we need? Who are the right people to communicate those messages?
What training will people need?
4. Making It Work How well do people understand what we’re saying about the change?
What do our metrics tell us about our progress?
How well are we reinforcing positive behavior?
What are we learning as we implement?
What course corrections need to be made?
5. Embedding In the Organization How can we make this a natural part of everyday life?
How well have we addressed the problem we set out to solve?
What remains to be done?
What are our next steps?



The challenge of getting employees to change their behavior prompts the eternal management question of whether rewards or punishments are more effective motivators. The answer, according to Aubrey Daniels, author of Bringing Out the Best in People, is both. (Or maybe: It depends. Or: Man, is this complicated.) There’s no single right way. But definitely shoot for the rewards side of the coin, Daniels (@AubreyDaniels) advises.

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A Change Checklist for Leaders

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