Optimize Your Success With Change Management

Change is hard. However, following these steps for change management optimizes your chances of success.

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In my last article, I discussed the steps required to successfully implement change in your company.

I’ve worked for a landscaping company implementing new software, so I’ve seen these steps work well firsthand. I’ve also seen what they did wrong and why some of those initiatives failed.

This is a very common (and stressful) scenario for many green industry companies, so I’ll use “new software” as the example of “change” in this article. 

Changing software: An example

Company A is a medium-sized company, offering commercial and residential landscape maintenance. They average about $1.5 million annually, and employ 17 people in total. 

Recently, they’ve been having problems with scheduling and communication. It’s been a wet year, so mowing has been rescheduled frequently, and many customers were missed. This is especially problematic with high-end residential accounts. In addition, the crews have missed important parts of the job on some commercial accounts, leading to some very awkward phone calls between the operations manager and the property managers. 

The office manager (who does the scheduling), operations manager, and two of the three crew leaders have expressed that there’s a problem with the current software the company is using; rescheduling jobs is clunky and difficult, leading to lots of missed jobs. Also, there’s no good way for sales to communicate with the office and the crews in the software, leading to broken promises. 

This is Step 1: They’ve identified a problem (the limitations of their current software). 

The owners assemble a change team: the salesperson, the office manager, the operations manager, one of the crew leaders who expressed a problem and one of the field workers who is well-liked and respected by everyone, but on a different crew. They tell the team they can research solutions, and implement the one that works best for everyone. All options are on the table; working on a new process with the existing software, going back to pen-and-paper, finding a new software solution, etc. 

This is Step 2: Assembling the change team. 

This team gets right to work. After calls with the existing software’s support team, they agree that the current software is unusable as they grow. Pen and paper is not an option for any of them; it will involve far too much time in manual processes for them to get all their work done.

This leaves them with the conclusion that they need to find new software to run the business. They conduct internet research and discover three viable options. They sit through demonstrations of each platform and decide on one. 

Now, they begin to craft the communication around it. They write a brief statement that explains the problems, why these are problems, how the new software they found solves the issues, and what the company will be able to do moving forward with the new solution. 

This is Step 3: Create the vision. 

Now, the owners start talking about the change. They have accepted the solution (and the proposed budget) for the new software. They allow two of the members of the “change team” to present this to the company in a companywide meeting. They throw their support behind the effort and publicly thank the team for the time they have invested in the change. 

Crew leaders are instructed to talk about the coming change, and how it will improve their day-to-day operations. The owners, operations manager, salesperson and office manager continually talk about it with the team. They build enthusiasm and excitement about the improvements this will make for the whole company. 

This is Step 4: Communicate the vision. 

The operations manager and office manager spearhead the software transition on the back end. There’s a lot of data migration (you want to keep your customer’s information and job histories as intact as possible!), and they’re working directly with the new software and the old software company to make this as seamless as possible. 

This is Step 5: Empower others to act.

Note: the owners aren’t swooping in to ensure it’s done “properly.” They can supervise, but allow others to enact the change. This increases buy-in from the team. 

During the process, the owners have realized this is a big undertaking. They ask for a list of steps that need to be accomplished to complete the transition from Software A to Software B. 

In this time, they see a few easily achievable tasks early in the process. They create a “road map” of the tasks that need to be completed to finalize this process and intentionally celebrate several of these early, easy “wins” with the team. 

This is Step 6: Engineer and celebrate short-term wins.

While the change team and the two “project champions” (the office manager and operations manager) are working to get the new workflow established, the owners see two small changes that will help improve efficiency. They ask several questions, and in a short time, the change team sees the value in these tweaks. They become part of the new process. 

This is Step 7: Streamline improvements. 

Finally, the new workflow is established. Everyone is trained on using the new software, and process documents and videos are created to help everyone with the transition. 

One of the most efficient field workers pushes back and keeps trying to complete the workflow as he did when they used the old software. Eventually, the owners have to write him a recommendation and help him transition to another company; everyone has to use the new workflow for things to run properly. His reluctance to adopt the new software only slowed down the process for everyone else, and they had to prioritize the rest of the company over one high performer. 

New hires are brought in and trained in the current (formerly “new”) process. Adoption by new employees reinforces the idea that “this is how Company A does business” with the team members who were around before the transition.

This is Step 8: The “change” becomes the “norm.” 


This was a fictional example of how a company can successfully implement a major, structural change to the business and come out thriving. Following the steps as outlined will help you transition from one stage to the next as seamlessly as possible. 

All changes come with some pain. It will still be hard. However, following these steps for change management optimizes your chances of success.