What is Change Management?
A vital part of any business strategy is change. Companies must continually adapt to be relevant and competitive, whether that means developing new propositions, goods and services or reacting to changes in the competitive landscape. However, change can be difficult to manage, and if not executed properly, it can have negative consequences on your business.
The term “change management” refers to the structured approach used by corporations to move people, teams, and organisations from one phase to a desired future state. Using techniques, procedures, and tools to aid individuals in adapting to changes in their workplaces is known as change management.
Without change management, companies risk encountering a number of issues. But it’s not easy and can often be a major undertaking for any business. There will be obstacles and challenges along the way, such as resistance to change from internal teams who are at ease with the status quo or believe that changes are unnecessary. This resistance can slow down or even halt the change process, preventing your business from achieving its objectives.
Another risk is that the change may not be implemented correctly, resulting in delays or errors. This can lead to increased costs and reduced productivity. But, in order to secure the longer term success of your business, change needs to happen – through Firestarter’s tried and tested approach we minimise these risks and ensure that changes are implemented in a way that is efficient, effective, and meets the needs of your business.
Some Common Change Management Examples
At Firestarter, we work with a wide range of different businesses and leaders, of varying sizes from SMEs to larger corporate organisations, all with different change management requirements. It may be that they are trying to drive a new direction, break a new market, develop an exit strategy, inspire a next generation team or simply working out how to break through the glass ceiling of growth. But all of these challenges require a different type of leadership which is hard to deliver amongst the cut and thrust of the day to day operations within any business. Some examples of the challenges that business leaders face include:
- A lack of bandwidth, resource or expertise to drive an effective change management programme
- A lack of common processes and poor internal resources/management
- A lack of rhythm and rigour in performance measurement and consistency to drive progress
- A failure to leverage examples of best practice across the business
The Change Management Process Explained
There are several essential steps in the change management process. Identification of the changes needed is the first step. This might be influenced by a few things, like new technology, changes in the market, meeting new consumer demand, inefficient business processes or even reducing the dependency on one or two key people in your business to effect change.
Developing a change management plan can help you outline steps to be taken to manage the change, including timelines, roles and responsibilities, and communication plans. Managing risks should be part of the change management process plan to deal with any potential problems that might emerge during the process.
The first stage of the change management process plan is to inform stakeholders of the change. This includes personnel, clients, vendors, and any other pertinent parties. Each stakeholder’s demands should be considered in clear, concise communication.
Implement the change
The next step is to implement the change. This involves executing the plan and monitoring progress to ensure that the change is being implemented correctly. It’s important to address any issues that arise during the change process and adjust as necessary.
Measure and reinforce changes
Finally, once the change has been implemented, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of the change. This involves measuring the results of the change and determining whether it has met the objectives that were set out in the change management plan. This evaluation should be used to identify areas for improvement and make any necessary adjustments for future changes. Once adjustments have been established, it is the vital that you stabilise and incorporate the changes into standard procedure.
To add a visual aid to the above stages you may use the three-step framework for managing change in organisations, developed by social psychologist Kurt Lewin. The three steps are: ‘unfreeze’, ‘change’, and ‘refreeze’. Lewin’s change model emphasizes the importance of careful planning and communication in managing change and highlights the need to address people’s resistance to change in order to achieve successful outcomes.
Effective Change Management
So, how do you effectively implement change management in your business? First of all, you need to ‘Start with the Answer’ – develop a clear commercial business plan that clearly states what you are trying to achieve and work out what roles you need in your business to impact your performance and growth. Then you need to think about how to optimise your talent, putting them where they can have the most significant impact. This will then give you a balanced approach to managing the talent you already have and building the team you need to deliver the change.
Some of the key steps you should follow when implementing a change management strategy are listed below:
Project management involves defining the scope of the change, creating a project plan, and identifying the resources needed to implement the change. The project plan should outline the key milestones and deliverables for the change, as well as the roles and responsibilities of each team member.
It’s important to set realistic timelines for the change and to monitor progress against these timelines throughout the change process.
Effective change management doesn’t come without its risks. By identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them, your business can minimise the impact of any issues that arise during the change process. Risk management should be an ongoing process throughout the change process, with regular updates to the risk management plan.
Employee engagement is also a key component of effective change management. By involving your team in the change process and soliciting their feedback, your business can build buy-in and support for the change. This can help to minimise resistance to the change and increase the likelihood of success.
Change Management Tools
Once you have developed your commercial business plan and developed your organisational structure to drive change in your business, you need to switch from strategic thinking to practical implementation for any change management process. There are a variety of change management tools that businesses can use to help manage the change process.
Change control board
One common tool is a change control board sometimes referred to as a change review board. This is a part of the project team that meets frequently to discuss changes to the product. The change control board should include representatives from each department that will be affected by the change, as well as key stakeholders such as customers and suppliers in addition to the project manager.
Another useful tool is a communication plan. This plan should outline the key messages that will be communicated to stakeholders, as well as the channels that will be used to communicate these messages. The communication plan should be tailored to the needs of each stakeholder and should be updated throughout the change process to reflect any changes in the plan.
A project management tool can also be useful for managing the change process. There are a variety of project management tools available, ranging from simple spreadsheets to complex project management software. The key is to find a tool that is easy to use and that can be customised to the specific needs of the business.
Finally, it’s important to have a way to measure the effectiveness of the change management process. This can be done through metrics such as cost savings, increased productivity, or improved customer satisfaction.
By tracking these metrics, your business can determine whether the change management process has been effective and identify areas for improvement in future change management plans.
Change management is essential for your business if you want to stay competitive and adapt to changing market conditions. By following a structured approach and using the right tools and processes, your business can minimise the risks of change and ensure that changes are implemented in a way that is timely, cost-effective, and meets the needs of your business. By engaging your team and communicating clearly with stakeholders, your business can build support for the change and increase the likelihood of success.
Change Management Consultancy
Organisational change is a significant task for any business, but as we have seen recently, it is often vital to encourage development and secure longer term future success. The ability to quickly crystallise ideas and then shift from discussing and planning to doing tasks have always been two characteristics of the Firestarter technique.
Combine this with our extensive set of tools, strategies, and procedures, add a splash of rhythm and a sprinkle of rigour, and you have the ideal formula to promote change in your business.
To start your change management journey, get in touch with the Firestarter team today.