by Diane Lauer – Bardess Senior Consultant, Lead Instructional Designer and Organizational Development Specialist
Although change is an inevitable part of business, especially in today’s tumultuous corporate environment, it is not always embraced by employees and managers with open arms. No matter how important and unstoppable change is, it can be very stressful. Many individuals are hesitant to take on something new or leave something behind due to already established comfort zones or familiarity associated with jobs and job functions. Most organizations which have gone through change without a change management plan in place can attest to the problems and troubles they have experienced.
Whether hesitant or fearful, those impacted by any change must be guided through a series of activities and steps for successful change adoption to occur.
Effective Change Management plans, which focus on the ‘people side of change’, involve a structured approach aimed at empowering individuals to accept, embrace, and prepare for change. This approach ensures alignment with group expectations and objectives, and personnel readiness for effectively integrating and managing the change or changes about to take place within any given team, department, or company-wide initiative or endeavor.
The chart below outlines some of the most common implications of either effective or ineffective change management. These implications support the justification for using a Change Management process.
IF change is EFFECTIVELY managed
- Employees have a solid understanding of why change is happening.
- Employees engage in both the solution and the change.
- Training is used to build knowledge and skills after employees have made the personal decision to support the change.
- Resistance is identified and dealt with early in the process.
- Senior leaders demonstrate their own commitment and the organization’s commitment to the change.
- Change is supported.
- A coalition of support among senior leaders and managers creates momentum throughout the organization.
- Probability of meeting project objectives is increased.
If change is NOT Managed
- Productivity declines as people become more consumed with the change being introduced.
- Passive resistance grows.
- Active resistance emerges and sabotages the change.
- Employees become disinterested in the current state and the future state.
- People are left to wonder why the change is happening.
- Employees revert back to the ‘old ways’ to avoid implementing the ‘new ways’.
- Changes are not fully implemented.
- Changes are cancelled due to lack of support.
- Many types of risk are created – risk to the project, to the organization, to the employees involved and to the individuals supporting the change.
The Change Management Process
The Change Management process is a sequence of steps or activities that encompass a group of systems and tools for managing change. These systems and tools are needed to manage any organizational change effort in order for those involved to make a smooth transition from their current environment to what is desired or needed. Change management’s goal is to minimize change impacts on those involved and to avoid distractions and resistance.
The various steps involved in any successful Change Management process include the following:
- Prepare the environment and those involved in the change
- Implement and manage the change
- Collect feedback, reinforce the change as it is occurring, and adapt the change process as needed
Establishing and instituting the above steps creates a ‘clear path’ to proper resource implementation and new job responsibility integration by:
- Ensuring Executive and Management sponsorship/support and employee motivation
- Preparing individuals to become successful / effective and for management to effectively coach and facilitate in an environment conducive to the success of the change
- Identifying change Sponsors and employee readiness and possible resistance
Successful employee transition from their current environment to a desired environment – weather implementing new processes, jobs, or job responsibilities/functions is what Change Management is all about.
If you would like to learn more about Bardess’ approach to implementing a Change Management process for your company, contact us.
About the Author:
Diane Lauer is a Senior Consultant at Bardess Group Ltd. She began her professional career in Organizational Development, Corporate Training and Documentation in 1980 and is well versed in the customization of Instructional Design, and in the presentation and design of a broad range of business programs addressing leadership, executive, managerial, sales, technical, and administrative issues and concerns. In addition Ms. Lauer has worked closely with a number of specialized groups to assess and satisfy both organizational and individual needs. She has conducted extensive research in the fields of Adult Learning Principles, Behavior Modification, Accelerated Learning, Communication Styles, Neurolinguistics, Change Management, Employee Skills and Knowledge Adoption, Quality Improvement, and Needs/Task and Performance Analysis. Ms. Lauer’s industry exposure includes Telecommunications, Technology, Financial Services, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, Utilities, E-commerce, Internet Advertising, American Cancer Society. Ms. Lauer has a B.A. in Communications and Psychology.