A practical guide to change management


Change is an imminent part of business, through which businesses grow and progress towards success. But when it comes to change, it’s important to do it consistently. Unfortunately, even though most companies plan to carry out more major change initiatives, half of these initiatives fail, while only 34% are seen as a resounding success.

When it comes to establishing a fluid and influential change process, change management is a project management approach designed for this purpose. This article defines change management, discusses its benefits to an organization’s success, and serves as a step-by-step guide to adopting an effective change management strategy.

What is change management?

Change management is a structured approach to change. Change often requires some cooperation between each level and individual entity within organizations. Implementing change management helps employees achieve a common goal and promotes the advancement of an entire company.

If a company does not have a plan for implementing, tracking, and reporting on the direction of change, the chances of failure are greater. Harnessing change through methodical means facilitates smoother transitions with an increased success rate.

There are three common types of organizational change.

  • Change in development: This type of change refers to the development or improvement of an existing process in the organization. This includes improving existing skills, processes, practices, performance standards or conditions.
  • Transformational change: Transformational change is a more radical type of change. It is often about suppressing or causing extreme changes in work processes.
  • Transitional change: Transient change occurs when the business emerges into a new state of operation, approach, or management. The clearest example of transitional change is when a company is merged or taken over by another company.

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Benefits of change management

  • Change management provides a clear framework that everyone must follow. This framework is based on change best practices and aims for the best results, making the change process less complicated and more scalable.
  • With the implementation of change management, the risks of risks and disruptions decrease. And with clear direction and a roadmap to follow, employees can identify inconsistencies and correct them almost immediately.
  • Change management reduces the time it takes to implement change by removing unnecessary roadblocks and establishing consistency across departments when it comes to achieving the same goal. This allows companies to respond more quickly to customer requests.
  • A change management strategy aligns change with business strategy. A constructive strategy must always take into account the long-term goals of the organization, allowing companies to progress towards their ultimate goal while executing small changes.
  • Through the development of strategies, it becomes easier to assess the overall differences brought about by the change. Additionally, measuring the impact of a change initiative helps to better identify flaws and needs, which helps shape the next strategy to work even better.
  • Planning what to change also brings people together to work collaboratively toward the same goal. This boosts employee morale and gives everyone a sense of purpose.
  • With better response time, higher success rates, and improved employee morale, organizations gain an edge over their competitors. These qualities are only a complement provided by a solid change management strategy other than its main objective.
  • Change management helps companies stay on budget. With predetermined areas of change and less risk of setbacks and downtime, change management makes change more affordable.

Change management milestones

Define change

Although companies may be keen to replace a current process with a more suitable process, it is necessary to determine whether it is necessary to modify it. Will the alternatives meet expectations for the desired results? Or will the expected results align with organizational goals?

These issues need to be addressed at all levels of management. Once the need for change has been specified, the next step is to compare the current scenario with the results of the change with any other situation with better results.

Build engagement

Ideally, any change management program should start by educating the workforce about change and how it will affect operations. Business leaders or influential managers need to share the effect of change and the challenges and benefits of implementation with everyone in the same work environment.

When more people understand the need for change and its wider implications, greater commitment reduces the risk of failure. Therefore, change leaders should conduct a readiness assessment in the initial stages to determine the readiness of the organization to embrace the change.

Develop a top-down strategy

The strategy stage is about building the right change management team. This should include key stakeholders, management, departments and individuals. With a top-down approach, key concerns can be addressed in greater depth.

Moreover, with different contributions from everyone, the drivers of change can record more scenarios and design an achievable plan for the benefit of all. Such an approach helps address stakeholder concerns without jeopardizing the success of the plan.

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Accomplish the objectives in several parts

Change management is not just about knowing where the change is taking the organization. It is about leading the collective efforts of the organization and adapting to each stage of change.

A major benefit of achieving change step by step is that the change drivers can modify the plan for greater benefits and save time by eliminating the need to go back to the previous step in the event of a miscalculation. Additionally, establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and setting milestones can help assess progress more effectively.

Analyze, rectify, proceed

Quantifying gaps and resistance to the original plan can help make the plan more successful. The plan the organization may have started with may not seem appropriate to adhere to at any given time.

That is why it is necessary to modify or rectify the plan according to the desired result. If the organization fails to stop and think at crucial moments, the plan may not bring the desired result, or it may even go wrong.

Reinforce change-oriented values

As an organization becomes familiar with the practice of change management, it can implement change without encountering failures and speed up the process. For this to happen, leaders must constantly inspire employees to embrace change and feel motivated to implement change.

Employees should become familiar with evaluating goals and accepting results, aiming for higher success rates, rewards, consequences, and such variables. Additionally, business leaders must strive to embed the change agenda in the corporate culture and create an enabling environment for change.

Start with small steps

In an ever-changing market, change management is an essential methodology for the long-term success of businesses of all sizes. An organization that conditions itself to implement change will shine above its industry because of its ability to quickly adopt new technologies, respond to crises, and leverage previously untapped skills.

Before planning a large-scale change program, try exploring a small pilot project. This will help your organization discover the benefits of this initiative, encourage its adoption by attracting participants, and better identify threats when embarking on it.

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