What Is Change Management & The Essential Aspects Managers Must Know About It

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What Is Change Management & The Essential Aspects Managers Must Know About It

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”
                                                        – Heraclitus

This quote by the great greek philosopher, Heraclitus has not only stood the test of time but has in fact been adapted to explain everything that involves change.  He believed that the universe is in a perpetual state of change. And that concept applies to anything and everything!

Had he been alive today, his insights would definitely have set the tone for managing change in modern businesses.

How does Change Management fit into the modern business scenario?

Change, as you know, is a constant that companies in today’s world have accepted. A fast growing company needs to be malleable and responsive to change and the field of study for that is change management.

When a company grows, there are goals to be met, there are teams that need to be restructured and there are organizational processes that need polishing. In a nutshell, there is a need to find a way through all the chaos.

How do you as an entrepreneur or a team leader manage that? That is where the ideas and tools for a streamlined change management can help you out immensely.

Change management is hence a very broad field. Its process draws on many disciplines and its approaches to managing keeps varying depending on the project undertaken or the organizational structure. To meet this huge demand to streamline the change management process, there are many companies who provide intuitive tools and application that help in onboarding, training, monitoring and analyzing the process in different levels.

In this article, we will be discussing the very same lengths and breadths of Change Management as a much-needed process in business. Along with it, we will look into how we can maintain a lasting change within an organization and the crucial change management tools that can be used to streamline the process.

But, before we jump into the thick of things, let’s first explore what is change management.

What is Change Management?

Change management is a process that fits into the transition state of a project lifecycle. We can define it, as a proactive approach that streamlines the changes within the life cycle, in a potentially beneficial way to the organization. The approach of change management would vary, depending upon who it impacts. But the main objective of change management is always the same, i.e cultivating readiness to the change.

Change Management

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Change management is a term that is subjected to multiple interpretations. In all its simplicity, we can define change management as managing change in the structural and functional methodologies of an organization.

What is Change Management to a Layman?

Change Management to a layman - Dilbert

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Explaining Change Management could get tricky at times. I know because I’ve been in that situation a number of times.

The main reason for so many variations is that when a change occurs, it doesn’t happen in isolation. It has many tangible impacts. And it affects the individuals, the organization and the system as a whole.

Intuitively, you very well know what change management is. But if you are to explain it to someone, how would you do it?

Any professional working with a company would have undergone a systematic change in one way or another. Say, if a new technology for storing data is introduced in your company. Would you adopt it or rather stick with the existing technology? Well, when you adopt, you are allowing change. And the process of streamlining that change is Change Management.

So with that idea, clearly etched into your mind, let’s dive a bit deeper into how all of it fits in an organizational scenario.

Organization Scenario of Change Management

Imagine yourself as a project manager of an organization that houses hundreds of employees. And you’ve been given the task to implement the usage of a new software throughout your organization. Now essentially, as the person in charge, you need to identify, explore and if necessary challenge the appropriations put forward by your superiors. And as the initiator of change, you must also prepare yourself to do your best to predict and readily manage the consequences.

But before moving on to the implementation stage, you must understand how to deal with it, both from the perspective of the organization and on the individual level. This is where the different aspects of change management would come in.

Organization Scenario of Change Management

For an organization, change management would mean defining and implementing the technology to deal with the business environment changes and profit making opportunities. But, for an individual working at the organization, you would have to explain the need for change and ease them through the change process. For that, you have to attend to them in a healthy and realistic way, understand their pain points, and help them through the transition.

So in short, for an effective change management, you would have to manage all the aspects of change, i.e adapting to change, controlling the change and implementing the change.

Which brings us to the point where we need a deeper understanding of these aspects of Change Management.

The 3 “Must-Know” Aspects of Change Management

It’s possible to have a lot more distinct aspects to Change Management. But here, we’ll be discussing the most important ones among the lot.

1. Adapting to change

Change Management - Adapting to change

Change is inevitable when it comes to a fast-growing organization. With the rate of change in business increasing by the hour, adapting to change becomes more of a necessity than a requirement.

Adaptation to change involves the creation of a structured mechanism that helps the employees in an organization, cope with the change.  This is important because the employees who experience the change, would take ample time to adjust and positively respond to the change imposed.

2. Controlling the change

Change Management - Controlling change

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Explaining the rationale behind the change is also vital. To do so in a positive way, you must ensure that the change management process is well planned and controlled. The change control process is the mechanism, which will help you ensure that the change undertaken is well defined, planned and streamlined before its implementation. Its objective is to make sure that changes made are as proposed, and that no other services are disrupted during the course of change.

3. Implementing the change

The foremost thing that you must keep in mind before implementing the change is that the employees in your organization are onboard with the idea. A way by which you can achieve this is by having the employees think that they are in charge. And also, by making them understand how their impact on implementing change can improve the overall profitability.

“A person’s own conscience is the hardest taskmaster of all, so the more responsibility you give people, the better they will perform.” – Richard Branson

Another facet to the change implementation are the techniques used to perform it. Be open to trying out the different change management tools available in the market. These tools will not only help you get your employees accustomed to the changes made but will also save you a lot of time in evaluating, training, reviewing and reporting.

Having said that, If you are looking for a tool that can help your company streamline Change Management, Training, and Onboarding, then do check out Whatfix’s real-time interactive solution for Change Management. The advantage of Whatfix’s interactive guides & walkthroughs is that you will be able to guide your employees step-by-step until they get the complete hold of your newly proposed system.

To learn more about interactive walkthroughs, click here.

Maintaining a lasting change within an organization

Change Management is a dolphin, not a whale

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Change is a people process. And the probability of people resisting to change and adapting to new practices will always be high. So, this risk must be controlled and minimized, for a successful and sustainable change management.

Albeit, it’s a tough challenge. But to yield long-term positive results to a change, you must make sure that you have consistency across all the major touch points.

And with that, we finally come to the question of how.

Breaking down the Change Management Process

Here’s a point by point breakdown of a Change Management Process on the basis of its different aspects.

  • While adapting to the change:
  1. Evaluate the core idea of the change
  2. Talk to your employees about why the change is necessary
  3. Create a structured mechanism that helps your employees cope with change
  4. Develop a strategy to manage the change in each of its stages
  • While controlling the change:
  1. Ensure that your employees know the rationale behind the change
  2. Be an active, committed, role model to your team
  3. Define, plan and streamline the change management process
  • While implementing the change:
  1. Create the feeling of ownership within your organization to inspire an enthusiastic approach towards the change imposed
  2. Embed the change in your organization’s culture
  3. Use change management tools to train your employees
  • After the change is implemented:
  1. Acknowledge the lessons learned during the course of change
  2. Explore on how you can engage and involve employees with best practices.

 

So finally, what should really change?

Change Management - So finally, what should really change?

Before coming to a conclusion, here’s a take on change management by Peter Drucker, the Father of American Management.

Drucker believed in creating positive change. In the humanistic corporate values that he pioneered, there were few things that he always highlighted:

  1. Put people before profits
  2. To survive and succeed, every organization will have to turn itself into a change agent
  3. The most effective way to manage change is to create it

Well, these insights have more or less paved the way managers think in the 21st century. Keeping them in mind helps in ensuring that change is implemented smoothly and with lasting benefits.

Just remember, as a manager, it is your role to simplify the journey towards newer and better ways of working. For that, you need the right mindset and the best set of tools to help you along the way. If you maintain the perseverance and consistency through, then ultimately you will yield positive outcomes.

And just one more thing, please don’t end up like what’s shown in this comic. Instead, innovate! 🙂

Whatfix for Change Management: Comic

If you have any questions or comments, please do share it in the comment below.

Are you looking for a tool that can streamline training and onboarding in your Change Management plan? Then do check out Whatfix’s real-time interactive guides.

Gokul Suresh

Gokul Suresh

Gokul leads the Inbound, Content and Social Media efforts at Whatfix.

A techie, a marketer and a UX enthusiast, he lovesthinking up creative ideas and experimenting with new tools. He's an expert in inbound marketing and eats CRMs for breakfast, ITSMs for lunch and leftovers from Product Hunt for dinner!

Have anything to say to him? Tweet out to him. He enjoys constructive criticism.
Gokul Suresh

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