Have you experienced change in your business? If you have a company that’s affected by markets, competition or shareholder value, then the answer is most certainly yes. Most of us work in a culture that is continuously moving, evolving and transforming.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these tips for tackling change in your organization from three seasoned business consultants.

1. Address the “human side” systematically. Any significant transformation creates “people issues.” New leaders will be asked to step up, jobs will be changed, new skills and capabilities must be developed, and employees will be uncertain and resistant. Dealing with these issues on a reactive, case-by-case basis puts speed, morale and results at risk. A formal approach for managing change— beginning with the leadership team and then engaging key stakeholders and leaders— should be developed early and adapted often as change moves through the organization. This demands as much data collection and analysis, planning and implementation discipline as does a redesign of strategy, systems or processes.

2. Start at the top. Because change is inherently unsettling for people at all levels of an organization, when it is on the horizon, all eyes will turn to the CEO and the leadership team for strength, support and direction. The leaders themselves must embrace the new approaches first, both to challenge and to motivate the rest of the institution. They must speak with one voice and model the desired behaviors. Executive teams that work well together are best positioned for success.

3. Involve every layer. As transformation programs progress from defining strategy and setting targets to design and implementation, they affect different levels of the organization. Change efforts must include plans for identifying leaders throughout the company and pushing responsibility for design and implementation down, so that change “cascades” through the organization. At each layer of the organization, the leaders who are identified and trained must be aligned to the company’s vision, equipped to execute their specific mission and motivated to make change happen.

4. Make the formal case. Individuals are inherently rational and will question to what extent change is needed, whether the company is headed in the right direction, and whether they want to commit personally to making change happen. They will look to the leadership for answers. The articulation of a formal case for change and the creation of a written vision statement are invaluable opportunities to create or compel leadership-team alignment.

Three steps should be followed in developing the case: First, confront reality and articulate a convincing need for change. Second, demonstrate faith that the company has a viable future and the leadership to get there. Finally, provide a road map to guide behavior and decision making.

5. Create ownership. Leaders of large change programs must overperform during the transformation and be the zealots who create a critical mass among the work force in favor of change. This requires more than mere buy-in or passive agreement that the direction of change is acceptable. It demands ownership by leaders willing to accept responsibility for making change happen in all of the areas they influence or control. Ownership is often best created by involving people in identifying problems and crafting solutions.

Source: John Jones is a vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton in New York, specializing in organization design, process reengineering and change management. DeAnne Aguirre is an advisor on strategy for PwC. Based in San Francisco, she specializes in culture, leadership, talent effectiveness and organizational change management. Matthew Calderone is a senior associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, focusing on organization transformation, people issues and change management.