What is Change Management?
Change Management can be defined as the process of preparing, supporting, and helping individuals, teams and organisations in making a change to better the structure and function of their systems and processes. It can be described as a discipline, which is based on a set of principles that uses tools, processes, and techniques to engage with individuals and teams and lead them through this process of change in order to achieve desired business goals and outcomes.
It’s been said that change is the only constant, but sometimes this can prove to be a bit more challenging than usual. Given that most companies are quite set in their ways when it comes to how certain things are run and managed, changing business procedures can come with a lot of fear and reluctance from internal staff.
It is important to distinguish between a complete change of processes in one quick go and gradually transforming the old way of doing things to accommodate everyone involved. It has become one of the most important success factors for any business in today’s changing world.
Change management addresses the users that are involved in the changing mechanism of the business. Creating new systems, processes, or implementing new technologies or software, will go unnoticed if the users that adopt them are not tended to. The ROI of any organisation depends on how well the users embrace change and retain the information necessary in order to implement the changes successfully.
To summarise; change management focuses on how to help users adopt and utilize a change in their daily tasks to their full capacity and competency.
The Change Management Process
Change Management consists of a set of steps that a team within an organisation takes and follows on a certain project or business initiative. It includes the strategy and plans that are focused on moving users through the change and adoption process.
There are 3 main phases of the process that we can take into account:
- Preparing users for change; this step aids in formulating the strategy needed to move forward.
Managing the change and any internal or external factors that may arise within the project.Reinforcing change through audits and mechanisms needed to deploy the change process.
- The ability of a leader to implement change effectively and lead users through the change process is crucial for users to acclimatise their way through this process.
- Change Management Competency means there needs to be effective sponsorship and commitment of the change process, both on an individual and organisational level. This has been deemed to be more successful throughout an internal ranking system; efficient management from higher ranking staff will lead to tasks being tracked and completed in a more structured manner.
Change Management does not only mean strong communication and training skills, but it is also about reducing the resistance that may arise amongst users who may not be as willing to adopt this. If it is structured well and managed effectively, both individual and organisation change can occur.
Why Change Management is important?
There are a number of benefits as to why effective change management is crucial with both small and large-scale efforts. Let’s discuss them below:
Change is brought about by one individual at a time. This means that if everyone contributes to the overall implementation phase, there could be a higher chance of success.
If re-structuring is not managed appropriately, it can be very time-consuming and rather costly to the business.
The way in which change management is managed will affect the likelihood of its deployment and success.
If the change management plan is a focused and strategic one, it will ensure that deliverables and timelines are met. This also means that there will be a decrease in resistance and an increase in the rate of individuals adopting the new processes.
An efficient plan ensures that overall business objectives are achieved.
Successful Change Management not only focuses on the process of change itself, but it deals with the steps taken in managing the actual transition period for both the organization and individuals involved.
How do Businesses Succeed with the Right Plan in Place?
The following benefits arise when change management and change leadership intertwine:
- There is a significant improvement in the experience of employees involved.
- The overall performance of employees increases.
- Customer experience is heightened as employees fulfill their delegated roles to their best ability.
- There is an increase in engagement between all levels within the business.
- Employees who embrace the transition eventually have a lessened height of resistance towards the process.
- Innovation is therefore enhanced, as everyone is aware that they are capable of change and adopting new technology, tools, or software.
- There is a reduction in costs, and time is preserved for more important tasks.
Minimise the negative impact of change:
To add; it is extremely important to have the right transition methodologies in place in order to minimise the negative impact that change may bring about towards the users affected by them – whether they are strategic, technological, leadership, or managerial changes. The right methodologies will help reduce negative outcomes and increase positive business results.
This, however, can be easier said than done. Some businesses may not necessarily have the right skills or resources to bring the necessary change management plans to life. This can have a negative impact, which brings us to our next point.
Why Change Management Fails?
The word “change” can be quite daunting and most individuals become acutely aware of the fact that they may be pushed out of their comfort zones. This is where Change Leadership comes in; ensuring that users going through the change handle it in the manner that will serve them well, and benefits the overall transition going forward.
The most common reasons as to why change management fails can be summed up as follows:
- Poor planning. Often leaders get so focused on moving from point A to point Z, that they forget about all the steps involved in the journey to get there. Planning is a key component in driving change throughout all the steps involved, and if this is not implemented, it will set up the business and its users up for failure.
- Management does not provide the right support to users. It is important that the leaders championing the change journey are actively supporting their teams in order to reap the benefits. Communication is key, and it is important for the team to feel safe enough to voice any concerns or risks they may face.
- There is a lack of resources. Sustaining long-term change can be difficult, but this can be overcome by sufficient planning and budgeting beforehand. It is crucial to test, refine, and then reinforce.
- There is a bigger priority on focusing on systems, rather than the user. Often at times, organisations get caught up in the excitement of implementing changes, that they overlook the key factor as to what will engage with this change the most; the people. If users are kept productive, and they have a clear understanding of their roles, accompanied by the right support, this is more important than the system itself.
- Change Leadership Skills are not strong enough. This is where the phrase “there is a difference between being a boss, and being a leader” comes into question. Management in certain organisations tend to delegate tasks to its employees, rather than managing them appropriately. There is also a lack of overall support when it is needed, causing confusion and frustration. Telling someone what to do, versus showing them makes a huge difference to the overall work-place contribution.
What is Capability Development?
Capability development comprises developing a set of skills and resources within your business. If the solutions provide the right users, with the right support, at the right time, the impact on the overall business is a positive and flourishing one.
Equipping people with the necessary skills, knowledge and context in order to use the business systems to their full capability, you are then essentially equipping them to run a better business. This can be achieved by developing customised performance support tools that will suit unique business environments and user requirements. This approach ensures that users always have accurate information and support on hand in order to increase their ability to work independently with changing processes.
Empowering users to carry out their tasks on a daily basis can be enhanced through using a range of performance support toolkits, blended learning materials, learning management platforms and certain software systems.
These in-house services include:
- Change agent networks
- Digital systems trainers
- Content development
- IT Skills with benchmarked frameworks
Change Management vs Capability Development – Conclusion
These two terms are interchangeable and they leverage off of each other when it matters the most.
To sum up, we described Change Management as the systematic approach that includes the transformation of certain business goals, values, systems, processes or technologies. The end result is successfully implementing strategies and methods in order to aid users in adopting and adapting to change.
Capability Development can be summed up as the tangible solutions that are provided to the user in order for them to adopt these new changes effectively and at a quicker pace.
Combine the two, and you have a powerhouse of internal transformation journeys that will not only bring about change to the entire business model, but it will also teach the user that they are more than capable to keep up with the changing times and be less resistant to change when it arises.
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