Change Management: The What, Why, and How

July 3, 2009
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What is Change Management?

“Change management is a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change”(Prosci
[1]).

Change management is no longer a vague management concept – it is a critical leadership competency and strategic capability to manage in these extraordinary times with unanticipated discontinuities.

“Companies must move quickly – make the right decisions and act on them with unwavering conviction. The ability to respond swiftly is a core characteristic of high-performance businesses.”

Why is Change Management Important?
Similar to Project Management, which is a discipline that includes a set of tools and practices to manage the ‘technical’ or ‘business’ side of change, change management is targeted at managing the ‘people side of change.’ So, why manage the people side of change?

  1. Increase the success rate of change projects (Prosci[1] research shows that the #1 reason why most projects fail is employee resistance and ineffective management of the people side of change)
  2. Project success is not found in excellent strategy or project management alone. Like many things, the interbeing of many skills are required for effective change. All too often


What is Change Management?

“Change management is a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change”(Prosci
[1]).

Change management is no longer a vague management concept – it is a critical leadership competency and strategic capability to manage in these extraordinary times with unanticipated discontinuities.

“Companies must move quickly – make the right decisions and act on them with unwavering conviction. The ability to respond swiftly is a core characteristic of high-performance businesses.”

Why is Change Management Important?
Similar to Project Management, which is a discipline that includes a set of tools and practices to manage the ‘technical’ or ‘business’ side of change, change management is targeted at managing the ‘people side of change.’ So, why manage the people side of change?

  1. Increase the success rate of change projects (Prosci[1] research shows that the #1 reason why most projects fail is employee resistance and ineffective management of the people side of change)
  2. Project success is not found in excellent strategy or project management alone. Like many things, the interbeing of many skills are required for effective change. All too often managing the people side (the organization) of change is left out.

    “We do change management everyday! Whether we are aware of it or not, change is part of every project that we work on.”

  3. Change management is a strategic competency – a competency that organizations cannot do without. An organization’s ability to move quickly and adjust to change quickly is a must skill.

How to Manage Change Effectively
Many organizations have great plans and ideas, however they’re failing in execution. So, how do you position yourself and your organization to execute change successfully?

“Excellence, in anything, is achieved through continual and unwavering focus, practice, ‘on-the-ground’ coaching, discipline, perseverance, adaptability, and resilience.”

  1. There are many structured models out there – choose a good one. It will help you organize your thinking and strategy to manage change.
  2. Just like any skill, whether it be Tiger Woods’ golf game, or James Taylor’s music, it takes practice.
  3. Find a coach, a mentor. Learn from those that have gone before you, from those that study and manage change every day.

References
[1] Copyright Prosci 2009, Prosci and the Change Management Learning Center http://www.change-management.com/