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Time, Money, and Lives Blog

Don’t Fear Change – 4 Tips to Make Your Next Lab Initiative Stick

A few weeks ago, our Director of Client Operations, Lindsey Pitsch, wrote a blog about the importance of user involvement in implementing a new speech recognition software. "Thinking About Speech Recognition? Get Users Involved Early" highlighted some of the difficulties seen by departments looking to try something new. Let’s face it; any institutional change can be a nightmare, so it’s no wonder there are entire areas of both Psychology and Business Administration dedicated to organizational change management. With new technologies and processes being introduced all the time, new initiatives in your department are impossible to avoid.  Here are four science-based tips to make sure your next one is more likely to be a success.

Tips for Change ManagementExplain the Change and Reason for it Before Getting Started

We’ve all heard how important “buy-in” is to change management. Behaviors are more likely to change when everyone can see how those actions positively affect outcomes. People need to see the reason for the change and agree with it (at least enough to try).

  • Tell a story that lines up the goals for the transition with the overall goals of the team
  • Explain the individual roles within the story and how they help with reaching those goals
  • Encourage input from team members and be available to answer questions and address concerns
  • Whenever possible, tailor the change to the needs of the individual

Support the Initiative and be Transparent

Targets, performance measures, and rewards are vital to success in any new initiative. This can mean financial incentive, but can also be as simple as a “well done” from team leaders. Set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the change and convey them clearly to team members. When goals are not reinforced, new behaviors are less likely to be adopted, and the change may fail entirely.

Whenever possible, give the team input in the process. Simply being in the loop and getting information first hand can really make a difference. Sometimes, even having an administrator post notes on the progress of the initiative can make a measurable difference.  Even though not everyone will read the notes, they at least have the opportunity to get the information and ask questions when needed.

The Team Needs the Skills and Tools Required for the Change

This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. A change in software or process may seem straight forward, but altering a routine is anything but simple. Make sure to provide your team with the skills they need and the time those skills take to develop. Some helpful resources include:

  • Training
  • User guides
  • Web forums
  • Power users within their organization
  • Company websites

Champion the Change

 In organizations where people with positions of authority or those respected by their colleagues model the new behaviors, change initiatives are far more likely to be successful. In our own experience, we know not everyone at every facility is automatically on board with a change as big as bringing in VoiceOver.  However, having even a small group of users involved in the project process usually leads to having a VoiceOver Champion at the client’s site.  Having a user who really likes the solution often helps others to see the benefits.  Users will always expect us to speak highly of our own software, but it means so much more coming from someone they know and trust.


                Lawson, Emily and Price, Colin (2013). The Psychology of Change Management. McKinsey Quarterly, June 2013. Np.

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Topics: Change Management Change