8 Proven Steps to Successful Change Management When Going Remote

Clare Anderson
21st August 2020

When you’re looking to bring in a remote team, a successful change management programme is critical to get buy-in from your existing team. In today’s world more than ever, constant change is necessary to not only stay alive but thrive in an increasingly competitive and challenging environment. However, we also know that change of any kind is never easy. Humans naturally tend to want to stay in their comfort zone. You’ll encounter resistance and the best-laid plans often fail. Intelligence and a solid change management process is needed to ensure you don’t get lost or go crazy during the process.  


With this in mind, John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School, developed eight steps of effective change management within organizations. Over four decades Dr. Kotter observed countless leaders and businesses (of all types, sizes, and locations) trying to transform or execute their strategies. He identified and extracted the success factors and combined them into a methodology, the award-winning 8-Step Process for Leading Change. Here’s a quick overview of this robust framework that’s stood the test of time - and how you can implement it in your business:


1 – Create a sense of urgency

For change to happen effectively, the first step is involving all parties participating in it - from senior management to employees to investors to customers. It’s vital that everyone understands the reasons for the change, and the importance of acting immediately - motivation is key.


2 – Form powerful alliances

Identify managers and employees who can serve as agents of change. Choose these people not only based on the position they hold. Their experience, status, or importance in a particular sphere can all help influence the people in your circle during the change process and help eliminate problems before they surface.


3 – Create a vision for change

Forward-thinking is a powerful tool to leverage a change process. Work out a vision with key values related to change, in a highly concise and objective way, allowing everyone to quickly understand what they need to do on a day to day basis to suit the new situation.


4 – Invest in communication

It’s fundamental to direct efforts so that you communicate the vision change properly at all organizational levels to guarantee the whole company learns it. You don’t want the change management process to get lost amongst other priorities.


5 – Empower the entire base

Very importantly, you have to enable and empower people to make decisions independently of you. Each person on a team is an extension of your leadership - if they feel empowered by you, they will magnify your efforts. Make sure you remove human, technical, and regulatory barriers properly. This way, new solutions can be embraced without hindrance.


6 – Short Term Goals

Create goals and incentives for teams in the short term - people feel more motivated when they see some progress in the activities they do. Celebrate achieved goals and reward those acting in favour of the change. Prioritize initiatives whose effects you can feel immediately and which help prove how beneficial the process is to your business.


7 – Don’t slow down

Don’t lose focus on the structural and deeper changes. Only they will be able to bring about continuous improvements to processes and projects. While short-term gains are attractive at an early stage, true change takes some time to fully absorb.


8 – Make change part of the culture

More is needed than simply going through a period of change, or just managing change. You need to incorporate the change into the DNA of the business. Leadership must constantly reinforce the new expectations and foster a suitable environment to ensure they take hold. Incorporate it into formal systems, preventing everyone from forgetting the new reality due to habit. Integrating change into a company’s culture will ensure you go through a smooth change process and prepare your team for future changes. 


When you bring a distributed team on board, implementing swift, effective, and lasting change management is super important. If you’re interested in working with an offshore outsourcer who will help you lead transformational change, download our eBook, ''30 Essential Questions to Ask a Provider Before You Outsource’. It will ensure you're informed and have the right questions to ask when considering the next step.


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