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Everything you need to know about change management

Gino Lisondra
29 November 2017 5 minute readShare

What is change management? How important is it to thoroughly understand the methodologies, processes, and all other relevant factors for a successful change management system? Read on to learn more.

For an organisation to not only survive but stay relevant, thrive and ensure continued success in its industry, change must always be considered—if not created. For a successful change management system to take place and be completed successfully, a thorough understanding of all its terminologies, processes and other relevant factors involved is necessary.

What is change management?

Change management starts within every individual making up your organisation or business. It is the discipline that informs and enlightens an organisation in preparing, enabling, and supporting all its members and other relevant individuals in adopting a desired change and the course of action the said desired change requires to be successfully achieved. The change, of course, is desired because it is understood and expected to drive organisational progress and success, as well as create more opportunities for business development and expansion.

Change management involves:

  • Models
  • Plans
  • Processes

Change management models

Any kind of change management model requires extensive research and field-relevant experience to be developed. The model should take into account how best and where most appropriate to effect change within a group or organisation, and thus must first be able to comprehensively consider the dynamics and specifics of the said group and organisation to effectively craft specific plans in achieving the desired change.

Most, if not all, change management models include a very detailed training and support methodology that makes sure the course of action in the realisation of change management plans is in accordance and furthers the efforts to arrive at the organisation’s desired change.

Change management plans

Usually born out of a selected and/or established change management model that is deemed most relevant and most appropriate for the desired change an organisation aspires to achieve, change management plans are more particular in terms of the course of action and all other specifics involved from the beginning until completion of the entire change management process.

Simply, a sound change management plan effectively fulfills the change management methodology and lends support to the particular projects targeted at delivering change. Change management plans are necessary for crafting and then realising a change management process.

Change management processes

A change management process is made up of a specific and sequenced series of steps—a course of action—that realises the change management method, effects the change management plans, and targets the achievement of the desired change. Simply, the change management process covers the delivery of the desired change from its inception to completion.

Change management works and operates on three different levels—all relevant and vital to the overall aim of successfully achieving the desired change. These levels are:

  • Individual change
  • Organisational change
  • Enterprise change

Individual change

This level requires a thorough understanding of how each person experiences and reacts to change, and even how one can effect change himself/herself. This involves the very specific—and also very tricky—knowledge on how people react to and change successfully. Since the aim is the achievement of a certain desired change and the completion of that change successfully, this level also requires a sound transition system in the process of achieving the desired change.

Particularly, the transition system should be made up of carefully crafted pedagogical and support methodologies to the relevant individuals involved in and affected by the desired change, and how they can successfully cope with all the new realities the said change brings. Thus, an effective transition system is able to foresee and prepare for needed training, support and evaluation methods in the entire change management process. Disciplines like psychology, neuro- and behavioural science, and pedagogy inform and enlighten actionable frameworks in beginning and then successfully completing individual change.

Organisational change

Also known as initiative change, this level consists of the course of action an organisation has to take at the project level in the initiation and completion of the change management process. Understand that though change happens at the individual level, a change management team simply cannot just realise the entire process on a person-to-person basis, especially with organisations made up of hundreds, or thousands, of people from different locations. Thus, the organisational or initiative change management level provides the necessary specific steps to support all involved and relevant individuals impacted by a project aimed at achieving the desired organisational change.

This level involves the crafting of a customised blueprint made up of specific plans and steps in ensuring all involved individuals, especially your employees, receive sufficient information, professional leadership, reliable training and coaching, and all other relevant steps in successfully achieving the organisation’s desired change.

Note that a sound and well-thought-out organisational change management plan complements and furthers your specific project management blueprint and processes. It should ensure that all particular and necessary solutions are designed and delivered in completing the achievement of the desired change.

Enterprise change

A necessary organisational core competency, enterprise change management consists of your company’s competitive advantage and its ability to adopt and adapt to the change necessary not only for your business’ survival but for its continued success. Enterprise change management capability requires an effective management solution or sets of solutions designed, customised, and then deeply embedded into your business organisation’s framework and overall system—roles, processes, and structures, and even on leadership and management competencies.

Enterprise change management capability means that all change management processes are effectively and consistently initiated and completed successfully, in all aspects including specific organisational initiatives. It also means that your company leadership should be equipped with the necessary aptitudes and skills to mold, guide, support, and lend strength to your team or organisation in the realisation of all involved processes aimed at successfully achieving your company’s desired change.

This level should aim and result in individuals, especially your employees, embracing the change and thriving and growing in it. In its application, enterprise change management capability enables you and your business organisation to aptly and effectively respond to market changes, economic challenges, strategic ventures, multilayered initiatives, and all other factors relevant to your business’ specific situation and future goals.

To simplify, an effective change management system:

  1. Identifies and understands the change that is necessary
  2. Invests in catalysts and pragmatic visionaries
  3. Anticipates resistance
  4. Crafts a realistic change management blueprint and gathers supporters
  5. Designs and realises an effective training and support methodology
  6. Opens dialogue and communication in the entirety of the process
  7. Evaluates progress
  8. Remains flexible

Remember, too, to always be prepared for unforeseen eventualities in the course of your change management process. You prepare for said eventualities by designing and fortifying a well-researched risk management plan specific to your current company circumstances, your organisational goals and challenges, and any other relevant considerations.

Unforeseen eventualities may be a change of personnel or a very low-performing quarter for your organisation; your risk management plan should be able to anticipate these eventualities and be equipped with the necessary steps to mitigate if not altogether terminate threats that may endanger the stability and continued success of your organisation.

Everything you need to know about change management
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Gino Lisondra

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