The brutal fact is that about 70% of all organisational-change initiatives fail.
This is because when implementing a change, organisations commonly fail to properly use effective change management.
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What is change management?
Change management is the process of guiding organisational change to fruition, from conception and preparation, to implementation and resolution.
More specifically, change management focuses on the organisational tools needed to help individuals make successful personal transitions, while realising these organisational changes.
To assist in preventing further organisational-change failures, here’s a guide to proficient change management.
Being Responsive to Change
Prior to exploring how to implement proficient change management, it is important to understand why being responsive to change is essential for organisations.
Below are a few considerations:
1. Being Products of the Past
An organisation’s current culture and practices are a product of its past.
Thus, since change occurs progressively, an organisation’s future will not remain like its past.
With proficient change management comes the conscious attempt to control, or at least to influence, the changes that will occur within organisations.
2. Industry Trends
Industries are constantly changing.
Successful change management will require thinking about future competitors, what products will be, and how an organisation will strategise to meet new industry challenges.
3. The Need for Continuous Improvement
The pressure to change is now so frequent that it is necessary to develop processes and cultures where constant change and improvement can take place throughout organisations.
Organisational-change can occur in many ways and can be encouraged by many internal or external triggers.
External triggers include political, social, technological, and/or economic stimuli outside of an organisation.
Internal triggers include an organisation’s policies, systems, procedures, employee attitudes, and management styles.
Due to the many potential triggers for organisational-change, organisations must implement effective change management to confront it.
To effectively do so, use the following change management procedures:
1. Distinguish between different types of change and identify suitable responses
The three different types of change are closed, contained and open-ended change.
Different types of change call for different responses.
It is therefore important to identify what is being dealt with when analysing a situation.
Prepare an analysis of the current and future environment of an organisation’s operating industry.
2. Prepare an analysis of the current and future environment of an organisation’s operating industry
All long-term planning requires organisations to find out about their environment.
In change management, not only should an organisation’s current situation be considered, but also its future.
A PESTLE analysis can be used to analyse external triggers for change.
The evolutionary cycle of competitive behaviour can be used to identify and predict changes in an organisation’s market that may require a response.
3. Evaluate what needs to change for an organisation to compete in its new environment
For the purposes of a change management programme, an organisation should focus on the key success indicators for their industry and then evaluate the resources at their disposal.
The final stage is to predict any barriers to change and develop strategies to overcome them.
Essential tips for proficient change management
1. Generate possible alternative strategies
Implementing a change management programme involves strategic choices about direction and priorities.
Some strategic choices will provide the foundation for lasting competitive advantages; others may bring an organisation down.
There is no one right way to implement the organisation’s strategy for achieving its goals and vision.
2. Describe the importance of the approval process
In order to evaluate the attractiveness of a major change proposal, Johnson and Scholes (1999) identify three areas of concern: suitability, acceptability, and feasibility.
A firm foundation for change which includes appropriate backing from key decision-makers, external triggers and wide consultation, is essential.
3. Develop ways of involving others and gaining their commitment to change
As an organisational-change leader, it is important to gain high-level agreement to change in several areas.
The action area, through external and internal analyses, the desired outcomes, management commitment and agreement on timescales.
An organisational-change leader must learn how to be a facilitator rather than a director of operations.
The ability to influence, negotiate and listen must be developed.
4. Evaluate how to deliver each of Lewin’s three stages
Lewin’s model involves three steps: unfreezing, moving and refreezing.
Ask whether there is a shared understanding of the change, whether structures are in place to support the change, and whether there are visible early wins.
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