Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business outcome. Change management incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change. Hence it is important to understand the change management process and learn some important change management tools. Change takes place on three different levels:
1. The Individual
Organizational change directly affects all departments and employees. The entire company must learn how to handle changes to the organization. The effectiveness of change management can have a strong positive or negative impact on employee morale.
A systematic approach to Organizational Change Management (OCM) is beneficial when change requires people throughout an organization to learn new behaviors and skills. By formally setting expectations, employing tools to improve communication and proactively seeking ways to reduce misinformation, stakeholders are more likely to buy into a change initially and remain committed to the change throughout any discomfort associated with it.
Successful OCM strategies include:
- Agreement on a common vision for change -- no competing initiatives.
- Strong executive leadership to communicate the vision and sell the business case for change.
- A strategy for educating employees about how their day-to-day work will change.
- A concrete plan for how to measure whether or not the change is a success -- and follow-up plans for both successful and unsuccessful results.
- Rewards, both monetary and social, that encourage individuals and groups to take ownership for their new roles and responsibilities.
Factors of successful change management
Successful change management is more likely to occur if the following are included:
1. Define measurable stakeholder aims and create a business case for their achievement (which should be continuously updated)
2. Monitor assumptions, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment, dis-benefits and cultural issues
3. Effective communication that informs various stakeholders of the reasons for the change (why?), the benefits of successful implementation (what is in it for us, and you) as well as the details of the change (when? where? who is involved? how much will it cost? etc.)
4. Devise an effective education, training and/or skills upgrading scheme for the organization
5. Counter resistance from the employees of companies and align them to overall strategic direction of the organization
6. Provide personal counseling (if required) to alleviate any change-related fears
7. Monitoring implementation and fine-tuning as and when required.
Change Is Changing
Today’s organizations operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) world (Johansen 2012). Our organizations face more complex continuous change than ever before. Being adaptable to quickly adjust to continuous change as well as being expert at leading through complex change are more important than ever. Change is a way of life, and proficient navigation in its turbulent waters is a strategic imperative.
Until recently an organization addressed changes one at a time, using fundamental tools and processes. Change teams had time to follow an eight-step process, gather data, and create a vision for each change project. We continue to implement a change management approach that was designed for single-issue changes. But the VUCA environment allows us neither the time nor the ease to rely on a set of basic tools any longer.
Organizations are challenged by the constant bombardment, faster pace, and convoluted complexity of change. Organizations require change-ready employees and change-savvy managers at the ready. And organizations must build a capacity for continuous change.
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