Assessing the Need for Change
While “change management” is a popular concept and the term is thrown around a lot now days, you first need to assess whether or not a change is needed in your business. Usually we assess our business when it is in a slump, trying to figure out how to enhance or grow our customer base, or making significant changes to how we do business.
Assess your business need for change when things are going well. Look at the best practices of your competitors and compare their results with yours. Adjusting your strategy to enhance your growth or customer base is not change management.
What is Change Management
Many people think change management means one thing. They mistakenly lump the three distinct parts of change management together and then wonder why it is so hard to implement. When implementing change management, it is important that we keep each area compartmentalized to avoid unnecessary stress and aggravation for ourselves and those we are working with.
Change Management – People
This area deals with the people in our organization. How we relate to each other in our work environment and what changes we can implement to make our organization function more effectively. If you are focusing on people in your change management plan, this is not where you change processes. The changes you make, whether in reorganizing your business or department or creating more productive teams lie within the “people” portion of change management.
When implementing a change management plan it is important that all of your staff understand why the change is needed. The explanation must be detailed enough to encourage a personal investment on the part of your staff for the success of the change. If staff do not feel a real need for change, or have not made a commitment to it’s implementation it will not only take longer to make the change, but also the change will not be long term and sustainable.
One of the mistakes that we, as leaders make, is to assume that because we can see the picture clearly, everyone else can too. It is important to take a step back and think about the “pieces” of the picture that our staff are seeing and what they are not seeing. In order to implement change, everyone must see and understand the same picture and have the same understanding of how it will benefit them. change management tool
People will respond with enthusiasm if they see a benefit to themselves or their work environment, if they understand the need for a change and if they are included in the change process. Too often decisions to implement change are made without the involvement of the staff who will be most affected. This is the primary reason that those efforts fail. There must be buy-in from a majority of the staff to effectively implement change. Especially change that is going to involve people and how they interact and communicate with each other.
Change Management – Processes
This area deals with the way things are done in our organization. How we process the paper, and what we do with it. This is where forms and processes are analyzed and changes are made to meet the needs of our growing business.
Not everyone in our business deals with the same processes. As much as we would like uniformity, what makes our business unique is the way that our staff interacts with customers or meets other needs with quality and precision. If we are going to assess and change processes, it is important that the process needs changing. Sometimes it is not the process but the people who need to change, but because we have lumped change management into one big ball we wind up trying to make changes to perfectly acceptable processes or change people when the process needs to be changed. No one knows better about the need to change a process than the people who are actually using them day-to-day. It is important that we discuss with our staff the possibility of changing a process and involve them in the implementation of the change. Changing a process, like changing people, requires commitment and buy-in on the part of those who will be required to use the changed process on a daily basis.