Welcome to the Change Management Tutorial Series
|An Overview of Change Management
Change projects fail more often from lack of effective change management than any other single reason (see reference 1). Teams that ignore change management cite this as one of the most important lessons learned during their project. Teams that use change management techniques have:
What many teams lack, however, is a solid understanding of what change management is and how to implement change management tactics. The article provides an overview of change management and will guide you to other resources that can help your team manage change effectively.
What is change management?
Change management can be viewed from two perspectives from those implementing the change and from the recipients of change. Your view of change management varies dramatically if you are the executive demanding the change versus the front line employee who may be unsure why a change is even needed.
In many cases at the onset of a new change, neither the executive nor the front-line employee is knowledgeable about managing change. The executives want the change to happen now; the employees are simply doing their job. It is the project managers, consultants or members of the project team that first learn about the necessity for change management. They are the first to realize the two dimensions of change management: the top-down managers perspective and the bottom- up employees' perspective.
A closer look
The managers perspective on change is results oriented. They are very aware of the business issues facing the organization and are accountable for the financial performance of the company. When a change is needed, they require action quickly.
In many cases, executives or senior business leaders must weigh the return on investment of this change as compared to other strategic initiatives in the company. Their primary concerns are:
"I need results"
|If the answers to these
questions are favorable to business leaders, then the directive to a project manager or
project team is typically lets get it done.
Now consider the perspective of front-line employees (and in many cases their supervisors and managers within the organization). They generally do not have a day-to-day view of the business issues. Day-to-day operations are their focus. Serving customers, processing orders, getting the job done these are the primary areas of interest; these tasks combined with the number of personal issues that we all face every day.
When changes are made, many employees lack the broader context or knowledge base of why the change is being made. They also do not share the same accountabilities as managers. They question, therefore, how the change will impact them personally.
"What will this change mean to me?"
To complete the picture, consider the consultant or project team who is responsible to design and implement the change. They have their own agenda acting on behalf of the business leaders who charted the change.
The result is a potentially dangerous mix of different priorities, different knowledge sets and different driving forces. If the change is not managed properly, these different values and driving forces clash resulting in unfortunate outcomes for the business.
Many organizations learned the hard way through failed projects. They learned that change management is not something addressed after the fact. Change management must start at the beginning of the project and be integrated into all facets. Both perspectives of change management must be addressed: the managers and the employees.
These two perspectives of change management can be referred to as:
So what is change management? Change management is the effective management of a business change such that executive leaders, managers and front line employees work in concert to successfully implement the needed process, technology or organizational changes.
The goal of change management is to implement these business changes quickly to:
How do I begin
The knowledge and skills for managing change that you will require come from the two perspectives on change: the managers and the employees.
Organizational change management is the management of change from the perspective of a manager or project team. It is the perspective of business leadership from the top looking down into the organization. The focus is around broad change management practices and skills that will help the organization understand, accept and support the needed business change. The primary focus is around change management strategies, communication plans and training programs. The involved parties include project team members, human resources and key business leaders that sponsor the change.
Organizational change management provides the knowledge and skills to implement a methodology and tools for managing change throughout an organization.
Individual change management is the management of change from the perspective of the employees. They are the ones who ultimately must implement the change. The focus here is around the tools and techniques to help an employee transition through the change process. The primary concerns are the coaching required to help individuals understand their role and the decisions they make in the change process. In this arena, you will need to provide tools that employees can use to navigate their way through the change.
Critical elements for managing change
Given this model or framework for change management, you can break down the required elements to effectively manage change. You can also initiate your research using books and resources (including training) based on these two perspectives of change management.
For organizational change management, you will need to build knowledge and abilities in the following areas:
Organizational Change Management
|The resources that
you can use to get started include:
Change Management Toolkit (available from change-management.com) is a hands-on guide for project teams and consultants with a comprehensive change management process, including templates, worksheets, assessments, checklists and guidelines. The process includes preparing for, managing and reinforcing change. Templates are provided for communications, training, coaching, sponsor and resistance management plans.
Change Management: the people side of change (available from change-management.com) provides a solid foundation in change management perspectives, theories, activities and practices - available July 2003 - email a Prosci analyst for more information.
Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report shares experiences in managing change and lesson on how to build great executive sponsorship from 411 organizations. Includes success factors, methodology, role of top management, communications, team structure and more. The report makes it easy to learn change management best practices and discover the mistakes to avoid when creating executive sponsorship.
For individual change management, you will need to build knowledge in the following areas:
Individual Change Management
|The resources that you can use to
get started include:
Employees Survival Guide to Change (available at Amazon.com or directly from change-management.com) is a book designed for employees to orient themselves to the change process and to get on board quickly.
Managers Edition of the Survival Guide is a step-by-guide for managers and supervisors on how to use the Employee's Survival Guide to Change with their department or team as a coaching tool.
* Reference 1 - Best Practices in Change Management Benchmarking report, 2003, Prosci.
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Best Practices in Change Management: 288 companies share experiences in managing change and lesson on how to build great executive sponsorship. Includes success factors, methodology, role of top management, communications, team structure and more. The report makes it easy to learn change management best practices and discover the mistakes to avoid when creating executive sponsorship.
Change Management Toolkit: a comprehensive change management process, including templates, worksheets, assessments, checklists and guidelines - a must have for change management team members and consultants.
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