Change Management – Practice Guide
Job boards all over the world are bursting with advertisements seeking experienced Change Managers. This is especially true in Information technology, where new technology tools bring business process changes, new performance metrics and sometimes a whole new approach to conducting business.
This Change Manager role is the primary focus of the Change Management Institute, which is a fast-growing professional Association. Yet, despite the growing popularity, there are still a number of misconceptions about what Change Management actually is.
So, to clear this up, here’s the definition of change management that forms the basis for this book:
Change management focuses on ensuring change initiatives produce the intended outcomes. Change managers work with senior leaders to select change disciplines and manage change within their organizations.
They also ensure communication with staff members is effective and efficient and that effective training is produced and delivered. Change managers also make sure the impacts associated with a change are identified and managed, with a focus on the business and people who will be affected.
So, change management is not a trivial exercise. It requires a breadth of skills that I’ll cover in this book. You’ll find a common thread throughout book – it’s all focused on how you can help your organization improve, and take the most critical element of any organization – it’s people – along on that journey.
It’s not just about educating staff, or “communicating the change” as many people believe. Change management is about
● Understanding corporate strategy, and people.
● It’s about communicating with everyone from senior executives in the office and the construction workers who build those offices.
● It focuses on designing education, while realizing a change journey requires more than education. It requires an understanding of human nature, and what makes employees nervous, and enthusiastic.
● It also involves understanding how employee roles change as organization’s change, and it ensures this is managed smoothly and proactively
In short, it’s owning and directing the change journey – maybe for a project, but potentially for an entire organization. Whether you’re working at the project or organizational level, I will share typical steps and approaches you can use in your environment.
To get the most out of these steps you’ll benefit from thinking about these overall strategies:
● First, raise awareness with the managers you can address directly. They are your first contacts for spreading leadership and direction
● Second, tap into the most common approaches for building skills in your organization and leverage those to increase the focus on your change management goals and techniques
● Third, work with business analysts, project managers and other change managers to integrate your change-related efforts. This “triple thread” approach creates a powerful formula for planning, initiating and embedding change that endures.
● And last, seek out middle managers as the primary source for change drivers. Senior leaders need to embrace and reinforce change. First level managers can monitor consistency in the policies that are created, and ensure they are followed.
But it’s typically the middle managers who are close to the actual work, and they’re also in touch with senior leaders who make change happen across the organization. Ensure you have their full buy-in. If they embrace change leadership as part of their role, you’re more likely to be successful in your change efforts.
So that’s it - piece of cake, huh? OK, not really, change management is quite a challenge. It’s very rewarding, and success in this area is typically noticed by management and staff alike, so you can receive praise from all directions.
Embrace these techniques and you probably won’t need to view any job boards – people will come to you for help and you’ll be as busy as you want to be.