Change Management: Why The Process Matters
July 7, 2015 Leave a comment
Change Management means that project timelines are often shorter with greater results, less cost and less disruption.
Change sucks, but it’s always happening. The options are to hope for the best, or to plan for the best. Change Management is about planning at the front end to thoughtfully, collaboratively, mindfully:
- Plan all things that need to change
- Plan all things that don’t need to change
- Collect choices / options
- Evaluate choices and impact… on everything and everyone
- Agree upon a vision and tactics
My preference is to think of Change Management as ‘Recalibrate’ vs. ‘Overhaul’. Identifying and resolving challenges early, before they turn into emergencies and/or conflict. I believe Change Management is our best chance to exceed expectations and to keep communication and all personal / professional relationships, honest, safe, respectful and supportive… recognizing that sometimes that means having difficult conversations.
Organizational Change Requires Individual Change
Mediocre adoption of any new process / system means mediocre results – or worse. Managing the ‘people’ side will always be the most important part of Change Management success. What people? Change may impact you… your family… or employees, clients, suppliers. Realistically, change will impact all of these groups… and more.
Most of the time, people don’t like change… and this makes change difficult for companies. If you’ve ever had to quit something – like smoking – or start something new – like a new job, you know it takes time to become familiar with a new behaviour / habits and to leave a deeply rooted behaviour behind. Familiarity lets us work quickly and confidently – change slows us down and increases the risk of mistakes (and therefore our professional reputation); and yet, the reality is that when managed well, change will drive greater benefits after a short adjustment period.
All For One, One For All
Change Management establishes a clear vision and universal agreement. When we all participate we all take responsibility – and the benefit is great.
At times joint responsibility means managing difficult conversations (and opposing objectives) – but that is OK. Better to be open to our concerns and get difficult questions and conversations in the open so they can be managed proactively, mindfully, collaboratively. Lets face it – challenging situations and opposite objectives are part of all change – so better to have a process that deals with them vs. letting them surprise us at the 11th hour.
As stated, a key part of change management is collaboration; this includes continuous input from departments like Legal… a department that is often at odds with representatives from departments like Marketing, Communication, and Product Development.
With input from your Legal department, concerns can be flagged early which means roll-out strategies, training, language – even target audiences can be aligned early by the team (which includes a legal representative), to address Legal concerns. This can avoid an 11th hour project shut-down (and expenses), to address missed legal concerns. Lets face it – legal is there to protect us – so better to bring them in early and let them help us identify opportunities and challenges… and get their approval early… and often.
Change Management Leadership
To succeed, change requires universal collaboration, leadership, support and respect.
Change Management requires supporters at all levels of the organization. The leadership team needs to support the process – which means giving everyone an opportunity for input. Successful Change Management is a collaborative, creative plan – no one person or department can be expected to see / know and anticipate every opportunity… and every risk.
100% adoption is often one of the greatest challenges to change. Why? Because as mentioned above, change sucks; change slows us down and increases risk of mistakes (and therefore our professional reputation). If we are discussing employees, Leaders must ensure no one person – even a high-performer can ignore the new, agreed upon organizational culture standards. Without participation from all people at all levels the best-intended plans risk not meeting target adoption rates and therefore benefit (and profitability).
Change Management lets us better understand what is required; be it change or deciding not to change.
When employees know the benefits of change they become motivated to a common goal – not fearful of it.
Highlights Of The Benefits Of Change Management:
- Goals are agreed upon
- Scope and clarity of scope is defined and understood
- Challenges can be anticipated
- Surprises are reduced
- Disruptions are reduced
- Scope creep is reduced / eliminated
- Employee engagement is increased
- Resistance to change is reduced
- Adoptionis increased:
- Adoption rate (who is using it)
- How quickly they are coming onboard (adapting / adopting)
- Accuracy with the new adoption
- Stress is reduced at all levels
- Collaboration is increased (harmony)
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT), goes smoothly
- A successful change process is greatly increased
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Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.
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