In today’s constantly changing world, it’s more important than ever to have a solid change management process in place. Change can be difficult for employees and can often lead to chaos if not handled correctly. In this article, we will define change management, discuss the best practices for implementing a successful change management plan, and provide examples of how change has been successfully managed in the past.
What is Organizational Change?
Organizational change is the alteration of an organization’s structure, processes, policies, or objectives. It can be a planned or unplanned event and can be triggered by a number of factors, including new technology, changes in the marketplace, or the need to increase efficiency.
Change is the only constant thing in life and in business. Yet resistance to change is common. A manager needs to facilitate change within any organization as well as ensure proper change management.
In the business world, change can be difficult to manage and often requires a great deal of effort. There are best practices that can help make the change management process smoother and less disruptive.
Examples of Change
Let’s consider an example of change management. In a normal situation, the office hour of your organization was from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization has decided to change the working hours of your employees. Now you have decided that half of your employees will work from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and the rest will work from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Another example of change is when an organization decides to change its product. For example, your company has been manufacturing shoes for the last 20 years. But now you have decided to enter the clothing industry. In this case, your company will have to go through a lot of changes such as learning about the new industry, changing the production process, and training employees on how to manufacture clothing.
Types of Organizational Change
There are three types of organizational change: planned, unplanned and emergent.
Planned change is when an organization deliberately tries to change something in order to achieve a specific goal. This might be a new strategy, a new process, or a new product. Planned change is often implemented through a formal change management process.
Unplanned change is when something happens that the organization didn’t plan for. This might be a sudden drop in sales, a natural disaster, or the departure of a key employee. Unplanned change can often be difficult to manage.
Emergent change is when an organization changes in response to its environment. This might be a new trend in the market, a change in customer behavior, or a new regulation. Emergent change can be difficult to predict and manage.
We can further categorize organizational changes as Developmental, Transitional, and Transformational Change.
Developmental change is when an organization makes small improvements to its existing products, processes, or services. This might be a new feature on a product, a new process in the manufacturing process, or a new service offered to customers.
Transitional change is when an organization makes a major change to its products, processes, or services. This might be a new product launch, a major process change in the manufacturing process, or a complete rebranding of the company.
Transformational change is when an organization makes a radical change to its products, processes, or services. This might be a new technology that completely changes the way the company does business, a change in the company’s business model, or a complete change in the company’s culture.
Resistance to Change
As much as we may try to avoid it, change is a constant part of our lives. Whether it’s a new job, a new home, or a new relationship, change is always happening. And while some people may embrace change, others may resist it.
As human beings, we turn our perception into practice and practice into a habit. When any change is required in our habits or practice or perception, we resist.
Resistance to change leads to unhappiness. Like many other things in life, we need to accept changes in a positive way.
Change can be initiated internally, or externally. Pandemic-related changes are initiated externally, which was beyond anticipation long before the event. On the other hand, some changes are initiated internally, such as a change in behavior or attitude.
Reasons for Resistance to Change
There are several reasons why people may resist change:
- Fear of the unknown: We may resist change because we are afraid of what will happen. Will the new job be better than the old one? Will the new home be as comfortable as the old one?
- Lack of trust: We may resist change because we don’t trust the person or organization who is trying to make the change. For example, we may not trust our boss to make the right decision about a new project.
- Lack of confidence: We may resist change because we don’t feel confident that we can do it. For example, we may feel like we’re not ready for a promotion.
- Comfort zone: We may resist change because it takes us out of our comfort zone. Change can be uncomfortable, and it can be easier to stay in our comfort zone, even if it’s not the best thing for us.
- Inertia: We may resist change because it’s hard to start something new. It can be easier to keep doing what we’re doing, even if it’s not working well, than to start something new.
Overcoming Resistance to Change
If you find yourself resistant to change, there are a few things you can do to overcome it:
- Educate yourself: Learn about the change that is happening and what it will mean for you. The more you know, the less afraid you will be.
- Talk to someone: Talk to someone who has already made the change or who is supportive of the change. They can help you understand what to expect and how to make the transition.
- Take it one step at a time: Don’t try to do too much at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and focus on one thing at a time.
- Be positive: Change can be a good thing! Try to focus on the positives of the change and what it will bring into your life.
Making changes in our lives can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that change is a natural part of life. Embrace change and try to see it as an opportunity for growth and new experiences. With these tips, you can overcome your resistance to change and make the most of the changes in your life.
What is Change Management?
Change management is a process and a set of tools used to manage changes to organizations, processes, and information systems. It includes steps to assess the need for change, plan and implement changes, track and monitor changes, and evaluate the effects of changes.
There are many different approaches to change management. The most important thing is to select the approach that is best suited to your organization and your goals. Here are three of the most popular approaches to change management:
- The Lewin Change Management Model
- The Prosci ADKAR Model
- The Kotter Eight-Step Change Model
Let’s take a closer look at the first model.
The Lewin Change Management Model was developed by Kurt Lewin in the 1950s. It is a three-stage model that includes unfreezing, changing, and Refreezing.
- Unfreezing: The first stage is designed to break down resistance to change. This may involve communicating the need for change, removing obstacles, and providing support.
- Changing: The second stage is when the actual changes are made. This may involve training, new processes, or new policies.
- Refreezing: The third stage is when the changes are consolidated and made permanent. This may involve monitoring and evaluation, reinforcement, and rewards.
Change management is one of the important tasks of any manager. It requires preparing, supporting, and helping individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change. Managers can play either a proactive or reactive role in managing change.
Most Common Change Management Challenges
Despite all of your best efforts, there are certain challenges that come along with managing change within an organization. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Employees feeling resistant to change
- Lack of communication and transparency around the change process
- Implementation failures due to inadequate planning
- Poorly executed or designed changes result in a negative impact
- Changes not being properly aligned with company strategy
If you’re facing any of these challenges, don’t despair. There are ways to overcome them and ensure that your change management process is successful.
How to Manage Transformational Change?
Transformational Leadership refers to leadership that transforms. By leadership, the manager supports employees with resources and a work environment where employees act and achieve the goals of the organization.
According to Transformational leadership theory, a leader needs to work with teams to identify required change, create a vision that can guide the change with enthusiasm, and execute the change.
Here are the steps for managing transformational change following the Transformational Leadership theory.
Step 1: Identifying the required changes
The first step is to identify the required changes. This can be done by analyzing the current situation and looking for areas that need improvement.
For example, the COVID-19 forced changes in wide areas of life and business. For your specific business environment, identify the specific changes that you need.
Step 2: Creating a vision
The second step is to create a vision that can guide the change. The vision should be inspiring and motivating so that employees are willing to work towards it.
Keeping the logical, emotional, or sociological aspects of resistance in mind, make a vision. For example, the vision statement for the COVID-19 change management can be, “Safety First with Growing Together”. The simple, and short vision is effective to convey all required messages. Please note this vision is simple to ensure the employees that safety is the first concern of the organization.
Yet we need to overcome this tough time. That is why we need to keep the organization running as much as possible. Ultimately, everyone will suffer if the organization shut down.
Finally, the word “Together” will create “we” feelings. Employees will be encouraged to think that organization is with the employees to fight against the pandemic.
Step 3: Communicating
Transformational leadership requires a charismatic person. A charismatic person shows confidence in his/her own ideas, vision, and communication.
Such confidence increases the confidence in communication. Recipients also feel confident in the changes.
Considering the example of COVID-19 change management, you can arrange an online meeting. If the team size were smaller, begin the session with an informal discussion about knowing the health of the team members, their family, and friends.
Then reinforce the best practices that everyone should follow to stay safe. After that describe the need for restarting the office with limited scope and following the changes in office hours and others.
Focus on the vision of “Safety First with Growing Together”. Describe how every team or every team member can contribute to that vision. Repeat how the organization would help in each step of the changes.
Finally, answer the possible questions proactively, before anyone raises that. Then ask more questions.
Step 4: Stimulating learning
The next step is stimulating the learning. It would be best if you provide resources and an environment where employees can learn new things about the change.
Identify the learning needs of the employees. It would help if you considered both individual and organizational learning. Then develop a plan to stimulate learning so that the required changes can be achieved quickly.
For example, in the case of COVID-19, to stimulate learning, send several documents through email to all employees. Those can be:
- Company’s policy on Safety and Hygiene factors related to pandemic
- Supports provided by the company to implement the changes: such as disinfectant spray in every office room, mask at the entrance of the office, hand sanitizer, several self-serve tea corners, office transportation, flexible office hours etc.
- Back-up support for undesired events, such as group life insurance covering COVID-19 related diagnostic and hospitalization, contact tracing if any infection is found, etc.
Step 5: Coaching and reinforcing
The final step is to reinforce the vision and stimulate learning at a regular interval. You can do that by coaching and mentoring.
It is essential to have one-on-one discussions with employees. In the case of COVID-19, the manager should ensure that every employee is following the safety protocol. The manager should ask about any difficulty in following the protocol and help to resolve that.
The manager should also reinforce the company’s policies and offer support whenever needed. It is essential to have a supportive environment to ensure the success of change management.
In order to manage change successfully, it’s important to have a clear vision, communicate effectively with employees, and provide support throughout the process. Change management can be challenging, but by following these steps, you can overcome common challenges and ensure a successful implementation.
Do you have any questions about change management? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’re happy to help!