Change is the law of life, and 2020 will forever be known as the year of change. Consequently, how well your organisation has been able to adapt to change the past year may ultimately determine the success of your business going forward. Keeping this in mind, one simply has to acknowledge the importance and impact that change management can have on your organisation.
But what is change management and how does change management work?
Keep reading to find out what insiders are saying about this tried and tested discipline.
What is Change Management?
Change management is a process that many organisations use to better aid them during a transition or transition. Better yet, it helps businesses deal with the people side of their company. Change management helps employees recognise, engage, endorse, and embrace changes that may occur in their workplace.
Why is Change Management Important?
We can use the example of a business merger to better understand the importance of change management. While there are technical aspects of a merger such as finances, combining of operational systems, configuring a new business structure etc., there’s a far more important component of such an event.
Getting as many individuals on board with the plans of your organisation may very well be the determining factor for your business’ success or failure. Due to this, the softer side of change management may often prove to be the more difficult one to handle.
But the question arises, why?
During any major organisational change, the role of many individuals can drastically change. How well they excel and adapt to these new roles can greatly impact the results of your new business endeavor. More so, it’s important to remember that:
- Organisational change management only works if it’s applied to every individual impacted by the scope of the change.
- If you do not manage the process correctly it may lead you to a financial deficit
- And most importantly, when done correctly, change management can significantly drive up your success rate.
The Change Management Process
Change management integrates both a process and a capability.
Let’s take a deeper look at the two.
Looking at change management from the perspective of a process, one can view it as a list of steps for team members to partake in. This process guides them through strategic plans to work through the change process. The main three phases include:
- Preparing for change
- Managing change
- Reinforcing change
From a capability point of view, change management measures the leader/managers’ ability to lead their team through the change process. Listed in the Harvard Business Review, David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto’s research on change concluded that change is only possible when leaders run an effective campaign. Now while the level of responsibility may vary depending on the individual’s rank in the company, everyone shares equal responsibility.
For instance, a senior member of the organisation is held accountable for being an active sponsor of change – therefore, they must demonstrate the highest level of commitment. Whereas, a front-line official, such as an office manager, must be capable of relaying direct coaching to fellow members once they have completed their change management journey. In their book ”Making Sense of Change Management” Esther Cameron and Mike Green talk about the many different aspects of change management, but ultimately conclude that nothing is possible without leaders being aware of their surroundings.
However, change management is not just about effective communication and practices, nor is it worrying about how to manage possible resistance. Change management incorporates a set of tools that are used to navigate individual and organisational change management.
How To Apply Change
Applying change happens at the individual level, how the individual responds and reacts . The biggest mistake one can make is thinking only from an organisational standpoint. The key to remember is that organisational change has to be understood from an individual level. If an individual cannot adapt to new company procedures and protocols then the organisation may not be able to find the optimal results they seek.
Implementing change management within an individual is only successful if:
- An individual is attentive enough to recognise the need for change
- They have the willingness to partake and endorse the change
- They acquire all the information on how to change
- They can use what they’ve learned
- And if they can uphold the change that they’ve been taught
Enforcing organisational change management requires the utilization of five key steps/plans:
- Communication plan
- Sponsor roadmap
- Coaching plan
- Training plan
- Resistance management plan – this is a key stepping stone for change management. Research done at Monash University revealed that resistance can be used as a constructive tool.
These action plans allow project managers within your organization to better handle changes brought to an individual.
- The cost of ignoring the human aspect of change may end up costing you more than you bargained for. Some consequences may include:
- Front-liner helpers refute to help implement change
- Long-term productivity declines
- An employee can feel burdened, confused, tired
- Your customer may begin to see the negative impact of change, something that should have never surfaced to them in the first place
- The loss of valued employees
- However, all this may be avoided with a little bit of structure and help from the right people.
United at Unitive
A company built through one man’s dream and ability to change, Unitive is changing the way you do change. We have new and exciting things coming to Unitive, to stay updated with the latest news around change management contact us today!