What is Change Management?
Change management is broadly defined as the coordinated and systemic events that take place in order to implement a permanent change within an organization. This change could be anything from an organizational change in corporate culture, to a wide-scale implementation of a new hardware or software application. Highly skilled certified professionals in IT and HR are generally the leaders of change projects. Through certification, these professionals learn industry-wide best practice protocol and standard language that makes working on a complex team more efficient.
Efficient teamwork translates into saving the company money and making the transition smoother for all involved. Although there are nuances that will differ across business sectors, in general the change management process follows the same basic steps. The change is managed with a wide-range of professionals with expertise in development, resource and fund allocation, project implementation, project monitoring, and project closing so that the desired change is accomplished as effectively as possible.
Initially, the priority should be to assemble a strong change management team that will assess the adaptation of the process with special regard to the particular personnel needs of the organization. Understanding corporate culture, and being able to demonstrate how the change adheres to the company mission statement and will bring about positive changes within the organization, are key points the change management team needs to address in order to pitch the idea of the change to leadership teams. A strong change management team will provide the initial strategy and long range planning necessary for a successful change management process. At this initial stage, a strong project team responsible for the technical aspects of the change will coordinate with the management teams so that the project has a sound plan to unfold as efficiently as possible.
As the plan is developed, funding and other resources are allocated by upper management in a company. By working directly with the plan established with the change management team, upper management completes the second stage of change implementation, which is securing and gathering the necessary resources. Upper management is needed to accept the vision and exercise the commitment to the change by establishing a powerful coalition of change partners.
Once the resources are in place, the next step in the process is to begin implementation at the middle manager level. The middle managers will work with their teams and with information from the project development team to establish times lines, provide training, coordinate on-going communication, and respond appropriately to resistance. As the change process continues, middle managers will be called on to mitigate resistance, remove obstacles, and maintain regular progress updates, and other effective communication with the project management team.
As the change continues to gain momentum, the behind the scenes work of the project development team becomes more and more visible. As the managers monitor and communicate progress, they may also see areas that need specific attention in order to build on the progress. Managers may call on the assistance of support teams to help bring the project to fruition. Certain teams within a business are often affected by change differently than others. As the change implementation becomes more fully integrated, support teams fill in to provide additional transition assistance and bring the project to full completion.
The only thing constant in business is that change is necessary to stay viable in a highly competitive, ever-evolving global marketplace. Managing change effectively translates into securing and maintaining a competitive edge. By taking the time to build a foundation with highly skilled professionals leading the key areas of change, the project will go more smoothly with better end results.
Certified IT and HR professionals who have completed coursework in the change management process can help an organization plan, develop, implement, monitor, and analyze change effectively. All good changes lead to better results and more momentum for even bigger and better changes in the future. Although sometimes challenges exist in influencing an organization to invest in a comprehensive change management strategy and in the ability of an organization to secure the properly skilled professionals to implement the change, the result of change done correctly is clear. A change management procedure built on a strong core foundation will serve the organization well not just in the future, but also will serve as a wise investment for subsequent changes down the road.