Notre revue de presse : le mois de janvier 2023.
Change management: A step in the right direction
The literature on change management is extensive.
A simple Amazon search on the subject gives some 20,000 results. It is a ubiquitous topic, and knowledge of it is coveted by employees and employers alike.
What exactly, though, is change management?
Simply put, a change for a company is a shift in its day-to-day operations. Change management is the action a company takes in tackling that change.
It can be brought about by external pressure, such as new product in the marketplace threatening market share, or internal, such as a new way of manufacturing. It can be one ‘big change’ or a series of smaller events.
The process of change is complex and filled with roadblocks. It requires:
- a clear understanding of the underlying issues that spurred the change in the first place,
- a serious involvement from upper management,
- and clarity in setting goals.
There are, however, certain milestones and factors that affect the success of a change management process:
- Understanding and planning the need for change: This is the most crucial aspect for any change management initiative. This is the time to ask the crucial questions who, what, why, when, where and how to define the context of the change, assess the needs of the project and start the planning process.
- Defining Objectives/Vision for the change: This is the make or break moment. Here, the vision for the change is defined, objectives are determined and all required stakeholders are aligned. A lack of a clear vision results in ambiguity and misunderstandings, which can jeopardize the project’s future.
- Clear Planning: The success of the change management initiative will be determined in the planning phase. It is here that the framework for the project is set in stone, the governance structure is laid out. The roles and responsibilities are clearly set with individual accountability, a timeline for the project is established and measurable KPIs are defined.
- Getting the team together: To make sure that the project is moving along as smoothly as possible, a (1) Steering Committee needs to be setup. Their responsibility is to ensure objectives are met and aligned with the company’s goals. The Steering Committee is accountable for the success of the project. Once the Steering Committee is setup, they will need the support of the (2) Change Sponsor. Usually a senior representative, the Change Sponsor is directly accountable for making sure the project runs with minimal resistance. Next, a (3) Change Agent will make sure that the day-to-day activities of the project are achieved. The role of a change agent is that of a facilitator; someone who connects all the dots between the needs of the business, the functions, and the overall company goals. Finally, a (4) Work Group made up from specialized individuals and accountable for the daily activities is defined. Careful consideration should be given when choosing members for the Work Group as a good mix is required to cover all aspects of the project.
- Follow up: A change management initiative is only as good as the follow up it receives down the line. It is a constant and evolving process.
Each company faces a different set of problems based on their industry, geographical location and internal structure. There is no one size fits all solution to tackling change management. The list presented in this article is a guideline to help setting up the change management process but it is not exhaustive. Change management is a journey, not a destination. It should be implemented and carried out before and after the ‘big change’ and just like any business goal, change management is always a continuous improvement.
Photo credit: pixabay
… and flexibility to act and adapt when things go wrong–as often they do. A great article, Ergit, I think neatly summarizing a simple concept often complicated by complex projects/change.