Change management as a term in organisations has been around for years. There are theories of change by Lewins, McKinsey, John Kotter and others. Many companies talk about it but few actually do it. 

Why? Because it is easy to plan to make changes in an organisation, such as bringing in new systems, changing work processes, rationalising, downsizing, reorganising or resizing. However, the reality of implementation depends on getting people to switch, to adopt the new systems, processes, and structures. Generally, people resist change, even when it is for the better because it disrupts their comfort zone. 

62% of employees will resist the change

Effective change management is about keeping the people involved and connected to the change throughout the process. Prosci, a leading change organisation uses the ADKAR model and it, with input from the other models, informs our change process. It is a simple process:

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Desire for the change
  • Knowledge of what needs to be done
  • Ability to implement the change
  • Reinforcement to keep the focus on implementing the change

When you add in an understanding of Elizabeth Kubler Ross, about the emotional aspects individuals experience, you need to ensure that there is constant communication and support for the people who are going through the change process. 

Start before the change with communication, create awareness and provide information on the change’s benefit to create the desire.

Involve the individuals in discussions around the change and ensure they understand, that they have sufficient knowledge to know what to do and what the timelines are for completion. 

Then, the focus is on the ability to implement and sustain the change. This may mean additional skills and training to ensure implementation success and continued business performance. 

Reinforcement is the best way to remind people of  the change, the benefits and the business drivers or necessity for innovation or change. It provides opportunities for ongoing communication to share challenges and to celebrate successes, to retain the required levels of motivation and momentum.

Organisations often believe that people will do what is needed. This attitude could be  a costly mistake, as poor implementation of change can be expensive. When people resist, or are concerned about what the change may mean for them, they start expending energy on worry and speculation that detracts from their work performance – the change impacts on the organisation’s ability to perform.

Effective change management speeds up the transition process, reducing the time required to bring the new systems and processes online with fewer errors and more significant employee commitment.Summary: New technology, systems, or culture change is most successful when the people are held and brought along.

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