How often have you heard about the perfect project implementation that didn’t lead the amazing return on investment it was meant to …because employees didn’t adopt it?
Or an organisation structural change that led to massive resistance and poor morale within the company?
This is a common story because companies often focus on making technical or structural changes without bringing their people on the journey. They fail to understand that the benefits from a restructure, new process or technical change depend on each individual in the organisation embracing the change.
That’s where change management comes in.
Change management takes care of the people side of the change.
As Prosci explains, change management is a mix of the “process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the business purpose”. It involves managing employee engagement and adoption in a systematic, organised way. It focuses on helping employees to embrace, adopt and utilise a change in their everyday work.
There are two ways to think about change management:
- As a process
- As a competency
Change management as a process
Change management is as series of steps that a change manager will follow whilst working on a change project or initiative. It involves thinking strategically around a number of important factors that affect the change, and drafting plans that will help move the people through change.
The proven Prosci process has three phases:
- Preparing for change
This involves completing a number of readiness assessments that will help guide decisions when forming the change strategy.
- Managing the change
This involves five change management plans that integrate into the project plan.
- Reinforcing the change
This involves a number of activities to help cement the change.
Change management as a competency
Leaders and managers need to lead their people through all sorts of changes. This requires a change management competency.
For senior leaders this means being an effective change sponsor and letting others in the organisation see their commitment to the change. For leaders on the front line, this involves coaching their direct reports as they make the journey through change.
The make-up of of change management competency depends on the leader’s position and role within the organisation.
Organisations are more effective and successful when they build change management competency through the different levels of the organisation.
An old view of change management was that is was just communication or training and managing resistance. With the benefits of over two decades of research, we know that it is a lot more.
Change management is structured process that uses a holistic set of tools to drive successful individual and organisation change.