A new eBook focusing on change management has been published. The Leader’s Blueprint for Effective Change Management is designed to help enterprises transition, communicate and activate change management processes. The research was written by Allegra Consulting, a specialist change management company based in Australia and sponsored by Aprika, a software development company.
The eBook notes the volatile and complex environments that today’s businesses must operate within. ‘Organisations are increasingly becoming conscious of the need to proactively manage large-scale change to survive and thrive. This means acquiring core capabilities that will successfully help them to navigate increasing flux and continuous change.’
The study suggests the better an organisation is managing change, the more likely that its change objectives will be met. The approach needs to be strategic, deliberate, and encourage efficient and effective adaption.
Change management is a benefits realisation tool – a way to optimise the adoption of change to achieve desired results and outcomes. It is also a process used to help projects be successful. A responsibility for leaders and influencers in organisations, and a strategic organisational capability.
The eBook offers guiding principles, enterprises should undertake to develop a coherent and structured change programme in an organisation.
1. A systematic approach
A systematic approach is required to plan and manage the movement of people from a current to new way of working, supporting both the psychological and technical – “what’s different.”
A structured Change Management approach ensures that people impacted by the new software are more confident and capable of using it correctly. This will help the programme to achieve its return of investment.
2. Applying a framework and tools
The eBook suggests frameworks and models that depicts stages of change that are helpful for planning and managing change. These frameworks encourage leaders and implementers of change to better understand the emotions of employees and help reduce fear of change and loss.
While these frameworks are helpful, reactions to change are not linear. People jump backwards and forwards, and sometimes experience simultaneous reactions and emotional responses. For example, someone could be both scared and excited. They could be in shock and denial, while also beginning to think about how change may impact them in the future.
3. Completing a change impact analysis
The eBook suggests completing a change impact analysis is critical to doing good change management work. At the start of a project, it is helpful to determine the size of the change effort required. The Impact Analysis goes into details around how the business is currently working “as-is” and what the future looks like – “to-be.” The analysis looks through the lens of several dimensions, such as people, processes, technology, policies and culture.
The tool then provides guidance on the complexity of the change (low, medium and high) as well as the ease of implementation. Once managers understand this requirement, resources can be deployed and an appropriate budget allocated to support the change programme.
It also reflects how complex the change may be for users and the degree of risk around the successful adoption of change.
4. Developing a plan and roadmap
The Change management plan and roadmap describe the activities needed to move individuals and groups successfully through the change journey to new ways of working.
Change management activities typically align with project delivery stages. When the change is deemed complex and risky, there will need to be more emphasis on change activities. This may require more visible leadership, frequent conversations, detailed training and regular, clear communications. Higher levels of investment in workshops, large-scale meetings, surveys, intranet micro-sites, regular updated and available FAQs. Hypercare support may also be necessary to better equip people to be ready, willing and able to adopt the change.
5. Managing change: resistance and reaction
The eBook maintains that an essential part of managing change is dealing with people’s emotional resistance to the new. The average person tends not to refuse to accept the change, instead they react while seeking to understand what it is, how it will happen and what it means to them.
It suggests reframing resistance to reaction. The eBook outlines the wide and varied responses to change, both positive and challenging, from both leaders and users.
Understanding and helping people manage their reactions to change is a significant part of change management and leadership. There is excellent research around reactions pointing out that everyone sees the world through ‘our eyes’ and in ‘our shoes.’ One individual might react to change by becoming upset and crying, while another might be excited. The eBook notes that both these reactions are equally valid and correct in the change journey.
6. Stakeholder management
Stakeholder Management is one of those skills that can make or break a business’s success in implementing change. The study highlights that key people can have an enormous impact over an organisation’s ability to be successful and deliver outcomes. Informed, influential advocates can help to mitigate risks and issues. Conversely, their influence can hinder and even stop change from occurring. Their degree of influence and impact on the success of change helps to determine the best approach to stakeholder management. This ensures that messaging is effective, tailored to diverse needs, interests, motivations and styles.
The eBook says, “Good stakeholder management is about creating strong ownership with stakeholders for the change outcomes. It is about shared responsibility for getting a return on investment through people being able to work in the new world.”
7. Integrating new technologies into existing tech stacks
While a sizeable portion of change management is behavioural or cultural, friction also stems from the sheer technological complexity. Integrating a new system across finance, HR, sales, marketing, and operations is daunting. While this can be managed using a project methodology, the initial steps of overcoming that fear, internal influence, inertia, task prioritising and ideation is still planted in behavioural methodologies.
Enterprise Times: What this means for business
In a nutshell, this report requires a serious amount of thinking and contemplation. If an enterprise is implementing a change programme within the organisation, then this report could be invaluable. The key ingredient in any good change management programme is communication and broadcasting of clear, consistent, and concise key messages.
The channels of communication in any enterprise can be variable. They can leverage townhalls, videos, social media, email and other written communications. The eBook suggests channels allowing for two-way exchange of information are effective – 1:1, workshops, meetings, and other group settings. Furthermore, messaging should be targeted to convey as best as possible the ‘What’s it in for me (WIIFM). These should be agreed by key stakeholders as part of the project, to ensure that information is conveyed with the appropriate degree of empathy and consideration for the varying emotions and perspectives of its intended audience.
Furthermore, enterprises should form change networks – a group of employees (sometimes referred to as Change Champions) who play an active role in promoting and implementing the change initiatives. They can be extremely helpful in ensuring consistency in change messages and building awareness and understanding of the changes required.