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Change Management Principles for Nonprofits

Posted in: Blog

Navigating change can be hard, even for those who are naturally more likely to be open-minded to new processes and technology platforms. Understanding the challenges that organization-wide change can bring to individual contributors, teams and leadership can allow you to be prepared before, during and after the change. Our white paper, Change Management: Rocket Fuel for Implementing New Technologies, provides practical, deep-dive guidance for those planning – or in the middle of – an organization-wide technology change. Understanding key change management principles can help you increase the likelihood that your technology change will be successful in the long-term. In this article we’ll capture some of the high-level change management principles to keep top of mind before, during and after the change.

Psssst, once again, don’t forget to download our white paper to get access to even more important change management best practices you can implement at your organization today!  

Before the change:

It may seem obvious, but getting buy-in before a change process has begun is critical for building excitement, increasing engagement and encouraging trust in the process. You have to bring the impacted teams along with you on the change journey. Think about your “change story”, which is a way to help internal team members understand why this change will ultimately be good for them. This change story should focus on openness and transparency, provide a clear vision for how things will look when all is done, and allow participants to understand the benefits they will personally experience. And a really important aspect? Focus on listening!

During the change:

So much of the ‘during the project’ energy is focused on the technical aspects of implementation, and understandably so. However, the technology implementation phase offers an important opportunity to engage internal stakeholders in the process, making them feel included and valued as part of the change journey. Conversations around what they like about the current system, what they would change, and things that would make their lives easier can go a long way to make sure the final implementation reaches its full potential. The reality is, very few technology projects truly meet 100% utilization because of missteps at this important phase. Bringing internal stakeholders closely along in tandem with the proposed change will help increase the chances that everything will turn out well in the end.

After the change: 

The system is launched! Huzzah! Now onto the next project. Right? Wrong! It’s important to continually consider change management principles throughout the lifecycle of a project to see it to the finish line and beyond. Training staff members on the new system isn’t nearly enough to guarantee its success. Understanding the critical learning curve period of the process involves resisting the temptation to 1) roll back to the previous system or 2) make changes in the new one haphazardly. Getting through the initial discomfort of a new system is made even easier by celebrating successes and monitoring against established project goals. 

Understanding change management principles can help set your organization on the right track as you plan, implement or adjust to a technology change. We realize this can be intimidating to consider, so we have published a guide to help you dive into the most important tactics for success at each stage of the change management journey. Download our white paper today to learn more on this important topic. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if the experienced team here at Exponent Partners can support your organization through your technology change journey!