But getting people on board and participating in the change will make the difference. Individuals will have to do their jobs differently, and it is the degree to which they change their behaviors and processes that will make or break the merger or acquisition. The soft side of change is many times actually the harder side of change. Learn the what, why and how of managing the people side of change with a structured approach to change management.
What is change Management
Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve its required business outcomes. It is the systematic management of employee engagement and adoption when the organization changes how work will be done.
Ultimately, change management focuses on how to help employees embrace, adopt and utilize a change in their day-to-day work.
Change management is both a process and a competency:
The Change management process
Prosci's research-based methodology indludes three main phases:
- Preparing for change (where readiness assessment helps guide the formulation of strategy)
- Managing change (where five change management plans integrate into the project plan)
- Reinforcing change (where compliance audits and mechanism deploy to cement the changed
The change management competency
For frontline supervisors, competency is related to coaching direct reports through their own change journey
While competency varies depending on one’s relationship to change, organizations are more effective and successful when they build change management competencies throughout their ranks.
Change management is not just communication or training. It is not just managing resistance. Effective change management follows a structured process and uses a holistic set of tools to drive successful individual and organizational change.
Why Change Management Matters
- Organizational change happens one person at a time
- Poorly managing change is costly
- Effective change management increases the likelihood of success
Organizational change happens one person at a time
Organizations don’t change; people within organizations change.
It is the cumulative impact of successful individual change that results in an organizational change being successful. If individuals don’t make changes to their day-to-day work, an organizational transformation effort will not deliver results.
The Cost of poorly managing change
- Productivity declines on a larger scale for a longer duration than necessary
- Managers are unwilling to devote the time or resources needed to support the change
- Key stakeholders do not show up to meetings
- Suppliers begin to feel the impact and see the disruption caused by the change
- Customers are negatively impacted by a change that should have been invisible to them
- Employee morale suffers and divisions between “us” and “them” begin to emerge in the organization
- Stress, confusion and fatigue all increase
- Valued employees leave the organization
All of these consequences have tangible and real financial impact on the health of the organization and the project. And each of these consequences can be addressed and mitigated if a project includes a structured approach to the people side of change.
Effective change management increases the likelihood of success
How to implement effective Change Management
Individual Change Management
- Awareness of the need for change
- Desire to participate in and support the change
- Knowledge on how to change
- Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
- Reinforcement to sustain the change
Organizational change management
- Communication plan
- Sponsor roadmap
- Coaching plan
- Training plan
- Resistance management plan
The Importance of change management roles
Benchmarking data shows that in times of change, employees have two preferred senders of change messages:
- Someone at the top of their organization
- The person they report to
Change management practitioners are enablers of these employee-facing roles. And, in times of change, it is the effectiveness of senior leaders as sponsors of change and of managers and supervisors as coaches of change that will determine if a project succeeds or fails.
So what can you do to become a more effective change leader? The bottom line is this: begin applying change management on your projects and begin building change management competencies in your organization. These are the first steps to ensuring projects deliver their intended results.
The people side of change is not the soft side of change; in reality it is the harder side of change. Investing the time and energy to manage the people side of your organizational efforts pays off in the end – in terms of success of the effort and avoidance of the numerous costs that plague poorly managed change.