Updated: Oct 9, 2020
What is Change Management?
Change management is the process, techniques and tools to support organisations, leadership teams and individuals going through a change transition from the current state ‘a’ to the future state ‘B’. The objective is to get the organisation and employees to adopt the change, achieve benefits realisation, sustain the change and improve operating performance. Change management helps the employees to understand, commit to, accept and embrace programme changes. Change management, at the very least, is a formal way of communicating with employees why change is happening, what it will look like from their perspective and how it will benefit or impact them.
Unmanaged or Reactive Change
Change management programmes commonly fail, which means objectives are not achieved and the organisation does not make a return on investment. These failed approaches usually do not have a planned and systematic approach to preparing, communicating and implementing change into the organisation. In unmanaged change, the leader of the organisation authorises and announces the change and then reverts back to fully focus on normal day-to-day operations. They leave the change team on their own and wonder why the change implementation fails. In some cases, the change leaves the organisation performing poorer than before. In reactive change, the leader still focuses on normal day-to-day operations but reacts and starts to focus on the change when performance dips for longer than expected. By putting good resources and focusing on the change, performance can improve.
“While change and transformation programmes focus on strategy execution to improve organisation performance, shareholders at a minimum expect benefits delivery” ~ Peter F Gallagher
The key to an effective implementation of change programmes is to develop and deploy structured approaches that will help organisations, leaders, teams and employees understand, accept and work with the change to minimise resistance and disruption. The structured approach supports change adoption and benefits realisation. It means focusing both on normal day-to-day operations and change implementation. High performing employees are put on the change, not only those that are available, and it becomes a part of the organisation’s agenda. The organisation gets ready for the change and only implements it when everyone is ready. There will still be a small dip in performance as the organisation learns the new processes and systems, but performance will soon be much better than it was before. The change will be adopted by the employees, it will be sustainable and that promised return on investment (ROI) will be realised. Even better, the strategy will have been executed.
"It never ceases to amaze me how often I have to remind change management professionals that the reason we are implementing the change is to achieve benefits realisation" ~ Peter F Gallagher
Peter F Gallagher is a Change Management Global Thought Leader, Expert, International Speaker, Author and Leadership Alignment Coach.
Ranked #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Change Management (May 2020) by Thinkers360.
Business Book Ranking: Change Management Pocket Guide - Leadership of Change® Volume 2, ranked within the top 50 Business and Technology Books (Jan 2020) from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders.