What does the term change management mean to you? For many people this phrase has many different meanings.
For me – the emphasis should be on the people!
We are all impacted by change everyday in our lives – both in a professional capacity and a social one.
Are all of these changes positive – not at all. However, how we embrace and adapt to these changes is entirely down to the way in which the people side of things have been managed.
What do I mean by this?
Well here’s a few questions for you to consider:
What will people think of the change? – By understanding what your audience will think and the impact to them you will be able to manage, assess and adapt the way in which a change is delivered. Does the solution provide an improved quality of output? Are people accepting of needing something new? If you can answer yes to these points you are far more likely to over come resistances.
Why may they think that? – Truly understanding what and why people may feel a particular way assumes you have at first identified who all the stakeholders impacted are. Often, those that are considered to be the least impacted are not identified or are forgotten – why? We are all important… right?
It is crucial to ensure you identify ALL stakeholders that will be impacted in some way as result of change – only then can we begin to understand why individuals or groups may be feeling a particular way. Their feelings could be influenced by many different factors, such as; geography, roles, relationship, status of influence within a group, age etc – none of these are less important to understand
How to I ensure somebody understands the reason for that change? – Once you have understood who, what and why – consider this….. have you explained the what’s in it for them? The answer to that may be nothing – if so, have you explained the overall benefit and need to do something differently. In my experience resistance usual stems from a lack or break down in communication. Communication can take many forms – consider, are you using the most appropriate means of communications for your audience?
When are change management skills important? – The simple answer is all the time! It has been scientifically proven that managed change ensures a more positive outcome and the least path to resistance. There are many tools and techniques that can be deployed and used to facilitate this process – many of which I share on my Lean Six Sigma training courses (shameless plug!!) – however, the reality is that no matter the scale or impact of change, we will as human beings always follow the same repetitive phases when responding to change.
Your job as a business leader is to manage people through those phases at the speed that is right for your business and the individuals.
Hopefully you will find this simple example below useful and thought provoking.
So…. How well did you manage your last change?