As soon as the plan is formally deployed, leaders must be prepared to answer questions and face skepticism and challenges. Employees will realize that implementation of the strategic plan means that real change will take place and that the organization will go through a period of transition, meaning that initially people may need to find time to take on additional work. Many organizations have not legitimized and practiced planning for the future as a regular part of the senior leadership's daily work; nor do they consider implementation as a regular part of the employees' work. However, the old work must still be done while new work processes, methods, etc., are being developed.
When people are faced with change, many act by denying, resisting, exploring, and then committing to the change. People may go through these four stages of change at their own pace. Some may never accept new roles and methods. Often these people leave organizations. The senior leadership team needs to acknowledge and legitimize these stages.
||During denial, senior leaders need to focus on the need for change and repeatedly provide the reasons for the change. Reasons of survival help focus everyone.|
||Senior leaders need to listen, empathize, and assist in setting priorities during the resistance stage.|
||During the exploration stage it is important for the senior leadership team to keep the effort energized, keep people focused, and encourage them not to leap to action before the ideas have been fully explored.|
||Once commitment is obtained from the organization, the senior leaders should acknowledge and share the success and prepare the organization for changes to come.|