What does it take to put a powerful change vision in place? Here's what the research says...
A strong change vision improves change readiness.
Increase readiness for change with a strong change vision that helps people believe that change is desirable, necessary, and feasible. Readiness for change is one of the most important drivers of employee support for change initiatives at work1,2,9,12,19.
Self-efficacy is important, so a realistic change vision is imperative.
People who believe they can successfully undertake a change are more likely to support rather than resist. Confidence in personal capability to take on the change and confidence in the organization's capability to take on the change both matter1,2,8,9,11,12,19.
A clear change vision improves attitudes towards change.
A compelling change vision statement increases commitment and satisfaction. A strong change vision statement
is easy to communicate quickly
emotionally appeals to employees, customers, stakeholders
clarifies the direction the organization wants to move in7,13,20
Hear Dr. John Kotter describe creating a powerful vision for change:
Effective goal-setting boosts change success.
Change introduces new goals, or modifies/replaces existing goals. Successful goal attainment is most likely when goals are:
framed as opportunities
challenging but not impossible
Help people turn a change vision into great goals15,16,17.
Change participation matters.
Engaging people in participative strategies before and during a change reduces anxiety and increases positive feelings and empowerment. Include people in shaping and retelling the change vision1,3,10,18.
The impact of change participation is lasting.
Participation during a change effort improves sustained commitment to a change, thus increasing the likelihood of long-term success. Time spent including people early on in the change vision continues to pay off as the change journey proceeds1,4,5,6.
Change communication matters.
Providing high-quality and transparent change information grows trust, increases commitment, and improves job satisfaction before and during a change journey. Start with communicating the change vision, and keep building the new story14,18,19.
Bartunek, J. M., Rousseau, D. M., Rudolph, J. W., & DePalma, J. A. (2006). On the receiving end: Sensemaking, emotion, and assessments of an organizational change initiated by others. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 42(2), 182–206. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886305285455
Buchanan, D., Fitzgerald, L., Ketley, D., Gollop, R., Jones, J. L., Lamont, S. S., Neath, A., & Whitby, E. (2005). No going back: A review of the literature on sustaining organizational change. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(3), 189–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2005.00111.x
Cole, M. S., Harris, S. G., & Bernerth, J. B. (2006). Exploring the implications of vision, appropriateness, and execution of organizational change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(5), 352–367. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730610677963
Cunningham, C. E., Woodward, C. A., Shannon, H. S., MacIntosh, J., Lendrum, B., Rosenbloom, D., & Brown, J. (2002). Readiness for organizational change: A longitudinal study of workplace, psychological and behavioural correlates. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75(4), 377–392. https://doi.org/10.1348/096317902321119637
Fuchs, S., & Prouska, R. (2014). Creating positive employee change evaluation: The role of different levels of organizational support and change participation. Journal of Change Management, 14(3), 361–383. https://doi.org/10.1080/14697017.2014.885460
Holt, D. T., Armenakis, A. A., Feild, H. S., & Harris, S. G. (2007). Readiness for organizational change: The systematic development of a scale. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 43(2), 232–255. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886306295295
Holt, D. T., & Vardaman, J. M. (2013). Toward a comprehensive understanding of readiness for change: The case for an expanded conceptualization. Journal of Change Management, 13(1), 9–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/14697017.2013.768426
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705–717. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.57.9.705
Rafferty, A. E., & Restubog, S. L. D. (2010). The impact of change process and context on change reactions and turnover during a merger. Journal of Management, 36(5), 1309–1338. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206309341480