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Simply put, Change Management – sometimes called Organizational Change Management, Behavioral Change Management, or Change Enablement – is a set of activities to help people understand why changes are being implemented, communicate how different people or groups will be impacted, and prepare them to be successful so that the company can minimize resistance to change, garner support for change, and accelerate value realization. Depending on the degree of change required, there can be an entire change management team, one change manager, or only an initiative manager executing the change management activities.
The change curve is a popular diagram with many iterations to depict how people experience change. It was first introduced in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process. She further asserted that it could be applied to any dramatic life-changing situation. The core stages of the model are often slightly modified for use in work environments and used as the basis for the popular change management models that exist today.
Regardless of the type of change, most people react similarly. Different people progress through the curve at different paces. Effective change management programs are designed to progress stakeholders through the curve as quickly as possible to minimize business disruption and accelerate value realization from the change initiative.
These core practices are effective for changes that impact a relatively small number of people and have a low to medium degree of impact. They best apply to changes such as updates to an existing business process or establishing a new specialized group in a single function.
Driving and sustaining organizational change can be quite difficult. Each impacted person or stakeholder group can have widely varying perspectives on why change should or should not happen. Benefits for one group can have negative impacts on another. Helping both internal and external stakeholders understand and adopt new ways of working requires a thoughtful and targeted strategy.
Studies show that effective change management strategies increase an initiative's success rate and result in faster value realization. According to market research, “Initiatives with excellent change management are six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management.” In fact, by simply moving from “poor” to “fair,” change management increases the likelihood of meeting objectives threefold.
This set of guides will help design and execute a fit-for-purpose change management strategy to understand the true impact of change, engage stakeholders, build support through thoughtful communications, and design an effective training program.
Understanding how an initiative will impact the organization and specific stakeholder groups or people to determine where the most change support is needed and prioritize activities and spend.
Creating effective communication and engagement strategies that build confidence and employee embracing of change initiatives.
Establishing an effective training program that ensured that stakeholders are able to operate in the new ways of working while minimizing business disruption.