Anyone can do change management.
...and everyone should do change management.
We want to shift how you think about managing change in your organisation. It's now an essential skill everyone can, and should have. As change specialists, we've seen a lot of changes that could have been managed by the leaders of the business. They didn't need expensive change resources. They weren't complicated. All they needed was a little effort and thought about how to get people ready for what was about to happen and how to support people through the rollout and transition.
We believe change management is not something reserved for consultants. It's something all leaders and employees can do. Though, we acknowledge there will be times when you are embarking on complex change that will need to have a dedicated change specialist who has successfully navigated through it before - largely because managing change takes a lot of time and hard work, and its difficult to do on top of your day job when the change is large, and also because the success rate of complex change increases when you have learnings from past experience. If you are interested in becoming one of these experts, and don't know how to break into the field - we have created a section at the bottom specially for you.
So if everyone can do change management ... what is it and where do you start?
What is Change Management?
Change Management is the application of knowledge, tools and techniques to build buy-in from the people impacted by change, as well as to get them ready to receive it (build knowledge, skills, and ability).
When you invest time, money and effort to change something in your organisation, you want people to use it. Change Management is the discipline to get people to want to use your new system/process/tool and to be able to use it. It is grounded in organisational psychology and is more recently being influenced by agile methodologies, neuroscience and human centred design.
Change Management is often treated like a silver bullet that solves all problems. This is because it has a high success rate in improving the impact of projects and initiatives, and by solving the people-side of the change it often also solves cultural issues, engagement issues and morale. Though, this is not really what it is designed for. It is designed to support and partner with project management, to ensure the project solution is adopted by those who need to use it. Without adequate change management, projects and initiatives face resistance, holding back the realisation of benefits. With proper change management, employees feel supported and engaged through changes and have a positive experience that builds connection to their workplace and team.
What do we do?
As a change manager, the key to excellence is - to advocate on behalf of the end user.
This means, we try to understand and represent the voice of those that will be impacted by the change - in its design and how it will rollout, as well as in the governance process with senior stakeholders). In every change there will be plenty of people focused on solving the business problem. There will be experts in building software or re-engineering processes. The change management specialist, needs to be the expert in the people-side of the change (this is the "change mindset" - to understand what is important for those impacted, how they like to be informed and engaged and what's needed to get them ready and supported during the transition). On top of this, the change management specialist also needs to be thinking about end users' level of resilience and capacity for change.
So what we do as change leaders, is we:
build end users' resilience for change
use our mindset and knowledge about change management, to influence the design and rollout of the solution so its better for people and for the business.
When everyone in your organisation is a change leader, who understand how to successfully lead change, is building resilience in advance of change, and are skilled at supporting people when things are changing - you business will start to achieve change flow, where the changes you need to make flow easily throughout the business, without disruption or noise.
There are 3 stages to building adaptability and eventually, change flow, in your workplace:
Building Resilience for Change
If you want to create an adaptive workplace, the first thing you need to do is build the resilience needed for people to be able to adapt to the change.
Building a Change Mindset
(and do change management)
Understanding what change management is, and how to successfully do it in a resource-efficient (and time efficient) way is important to be able to create an adaptive workplace.