Change Management

What is Change Management and why is it important to your organisation?

This article will cover some common questions about change management and change in an organisation.

It’s no secret that change is hard for everyone and especially strenuous on people in organisations – but it doesn’t have to be if you’re prepared for and plan for it. Even in times where change is sudden and unexpected, a measured approach is beneficial to improve acceptance and buy-in.

1.  What is Change Management?

Inside: The definition of Change Mangement

2. What are the different types of changes organisations face?

Inside : The 3 different types of Internal Change

3. When does your organisation need Change Management?

Inside : 4 Instance where your organisation will benefit from consulting with Change Managers

4. Why is Change Management important to your organisation?

Inside: 8 Reasons why Change Management is beneficial to your organisation.

5. Does Change Management work?

Inside: See what our Change Managers think.

6. When will Change Management fail your organisation? (and how it can be prevented)

Inside: 9 Ways Change Management could fail.

7. What are the different Change Management Models?

Inside: 4 Change Management models for specific projects

8. What is the Change Management process?

Inside: How do we decide which process to follow?

9. How is Change Management Changing?

Inside: See what our Change Managers experience in the field.

1. What is Change Management?

Change Management is the process of managing, facilitating and implementing organizational change. It is a strategic initiative that can be used to achieve business goals such as cost reduction or increased competitiveness.

 

That was a textbook definition. You can read here about the personal journey of  director Tlale Mosimane and why she believes in Change Management.

“I get to accompany organisations in their journeys towards transformation and growth, which can be an exciting and equally daunting process! I can safely say, in my world – I get to CHANGE the world! Now, who would not want to run a business that does that?”

Tlale Mosimane – Founder and Director of Change Agility

2. What are the different types of changes organisations face?

Organisations face many different challenges and changes. The two main categories for these challenges are internal change and external change.

Internal vs External Change           

Internal changes include things like code and conduct, policy, strategy, change in values, organisational culture shifts, or direction updates to the organisation; while external changes relate to outside forces that affect the organisation such as economic conditions, mergers or acquisitions, regulatory shifts or technological advances.

There are also sudden shocks and gradual trends that could both have an impact on what happens in an organisation. While harder to control, you can help the people in your organisation be prepared as best as possible.

 

The 3 different types of Internal Change

1. Developmental change

The answer to organizational growth. A developmental process that improves upon already established processes, strategies and procedures; optimizing on them in the best way possible the needs of your orginisation. Examples : Implementation of new technologies or software.

2. Transitional change

When an organisation moves away from its current state to solve a problem.  Examples : Mergers and Acquisitions. Automation redefines and integrates machines and intelligence into the work processes.

3. Transformational change

When organisations undergo a major shift in their culture or business model. This causes radical transformations to take place internally as well as externally with changing internal company dynamics, but also how they do business with customers on the outside world. Examples : Change of leadership in Times of crises

3. When does your organisation need Change Management?

Many organisations are constantly changing, and with that become change fatigued and resistant to change.

Change Management is the necessary process in which an organisation’s stakeholders are consulted to understand their needs and expectations for change. This section will explore when your organisation may need a Change Management project and what you should expect from a change manager

When combining any of the following scenarios with the different types of Internal Change your organisation is facing, there are meaningful benefits to structured outsourced Change management services.

 

4 Instances where your organisation will benefit from consulting with change managers

1. When you need to drive successful change

Change management is the key to success in a disruptive world. In this day and age, change has become constant. Data shows that when you need it most – for successes on critical projects or initiatives – effective change management drives greater benefit realization than anything else out there!

2. When the volume of change is overwhelming

Change is constant in today’s business climate and it can be overwhelming.  With the right training your employees will become better at overcoming and adapting to it. See our workshop on Transformative Change

3. When change has been poorly managed in the past

Failure to change in the past has caused a lot of stress and confusion within your organization. Continuing this process now is not an option.

4. When you need to prepare for the future

In today’s uncertain business environment, it is essential that companies prepare themselves and their employees. Our courses address these preparations.

 

Change management is an important process when there are any organisational changes. It helps to ensure that the change will be effective, and not have negative consequences on employees or customers. The change management effort will match the size of your change, so do not be hesitant to get advice on a free quote from Change Agility.

Change management can also help people who resist change because it provides them with the time to adjust before any major changes happen.  What does your organization need?

The truth is, if you are spending money to move from one state to another, and want your workforce to transition with you – you need change management.

Read more on the  problems an organisation might face during change and why no change is ever simple

4. Why is Change Management important to your organisation?

What would you say if we told you that in order to successfully manage these changes depends on the ability to “make people understand the change”?

This must not be confused with excitement which can be achieved through various fun and engaging initiatives, which is sometimes confused as the sole role of a Change Manager! Yes, we love having fun while we work, at least I do!

Our role goes deeper than that, we have to meet fundamental human objectives. Understanding means your workforce needs t know what is happening, when its happening, how it will take place, how their lives will change, and what’s in it for them. With an understanding of human nature and effective organizational change management, company transitions can be made more manageable.

8 Reasons why change management is beneficial to your organisation.

1. It assists new ideas to succeed within your organisation

Change management methods are the key to any organisation that wants staff members to use new capabilities. Change managers and change agents work alongside project managers, making sure employees can fully utilize their newest skillsets.

2. It enables change alignment within your organisation

Change management is a crucial process in modern organisations. Change can be incredibly         disruptive, and without it many units within the organisation would surely fail miserably or at least not as well as they could have done otherwise. It’s important to ensure that a change being made aligns with the overall strategy of your business so you are focusing on what matters most for long-term success while still managing day to day issues effectively along the way.

3. It engage all those involved with the change process within your organisation

A key part of managing a change in an organization is to engage those people affected by a change initiative. When staff are involved in the process early, they can get used to what will be happening before it even happens so that when changes do happen, there is less resistance and more acceptance for something new. Also, when people feel involved and included they are more likely to act to change.

4. It prepares people for changes and transitions within your organisation

Change managers are often appointed to make organisational change go smoothly, using models such as restructuring business processes and implementing new technologies.

5. It surfaces and manages resistance to a change initiative within your organisation

It is not easy to embrace change, and the same can be said for staff. If you are a manager who’s looking for success in an initiative that involves changes, it will happen but there are going to be some problems along the way as resistance comes into play.

By being transparent from the very first day, change managers help surface the resistance they encounter, address it and effectively reduce its potential negative impact.

6. It improves performance and productivity within your organisation

The most successful companies have figured out how to balance the need for efficiency with a desire for innovation. It’s not an easy task, but when done well can produce remarkable results.

These companies have a healthy work environment can can ride out the storms of external change easier.

7. Reducing costs within your organisation arising from change

Change is not always easy, but when in the hands of smart people, it can reduce waste and costs. Effective change management helps organisations make smarter choices to increase productivity while decreasing risks for a more profitable organisation.

8. Increases the RIO of your project

The decision to invest in any type of organisational improvement has a price tag, and the cost of not achieving the expected return on your investment can be devastating to the organisation and its productivity. The value of change management lies between the gap between meeting the technical objectives, and the human objectives.

When your workforce embraces the change, owns it and runs with it, the organisation achieves the maximum returns on the investment.

Read more about the impact change management has on organisations in this study.

5. Does Change Management work?

Do you want to know if change management is worth it? Will it work for your organisation? Looking at the benefits and from the perspective of the consultants in the field. The resounding answer is : “Yes!”

 

Like many disciplines, Change Management works if it is well thought out, well planned and executed with care and the required focus . I saw a post once that said a change manager is agony aunt, strategist., communicator, analyst, comedian, the fixer … and the list went on and on.  The truth is change managers are facilitators of your journey that will actively include and engage your workforce. YOU must define the journey.

So, yes – Change Management does work.

Change Agility Founder and Director Tlale Mosimane

 

Yes! Change management allows for organisations to focus on the people element of the transition that they are going through. Effective change management prepares people and take them on the journey of organisational transformation.

Senior Change Management Consultant at Change Agility Saskia Davidson

 

From experience I have learned that Change Management works when the client owns their change.

Change is hard and Change Management competencies, methodologies and tools have continued to evolve and grown but its role is never to take over Captaincy of the change.

If you want to know if change management is going to work in your organisation, ask you Captain if he/she is ready to roll up their sleeves and actively work with their selected Change Management expert?

Senior Change Management Consultant at Change Agility Mariette Krause

 

Change is a process; it is not an event. It’s a journey that requires organisation to fold their sleeves and start digging deep. The role of the change manager is to facilitate that process and support them.

So Yes, Change Management works. I work mostly with municipalities at Change Agility and where many consultants are afraid to venture, I have seen that with patience, passion, empathy and meeting the client where they are – you can make a difference. I love the public sector; it feels good to be in a space where there is so much potential to really shift the dial.

Senior Change Management Consultant at Change Agility – Madimetsa William Ledwaba

 

Looking at it from the other side, as an employee we asked Hanlie, the Operations Manager at Change Agility, who went through various changes in the past:

 

Yes, it is an absolute necessity!  I can only explain my experience on past change projects (during previous employment) where change management did not form part of the overall project as “a fast-moving train which I could not catch up with”.

I saw someone else explain it as follows (and I cannot put it better myself)…it is like standing at a train station and the train is already moving at full speed. As an employee, you know that you won’t be able to stop the train, so the best thing you can do is either try to jump on and hang on for dear life, or remain standing on the platform and watch the train leave…

Having the majority of change projects during my career takes place without any change management, this is exactly how change projects felt to me as an employee without a choice or voice. A total “train-smash”.

Operations Manager at Change Agility

One of our success stories

“A few years ago, we worked on an interesting programme where a new leader came into the organisation to effect some tough changes. Their knowledge of change management from previous programmes was key as they ensured that we can on board within a month of joining the organisation. We worked on morale with assisting him with gradual introduction of changes – some massive, others small. We used a change load concept to make decision on what change comes next, and the size of the next initiative.

The strategy was simple, ongoing morale initiatives and project focus change, The team on site never stopped the morale boosters, and ensuring that although things we going to be different – there was  a level of support, fun and engagement that the workforce could count on.

We stayed at that organisation post his departure, engaging with other programs to help them consider change fatigue as a determinant of success.”

6. When will Change Management fail your organisation? (and how it can be prevented)

Change Management is a crucial process for any organisation. However, it’s not without its pitfalls and failure can be disastrous.

In this section we’ll look at elements that might cause your Change Management to fail, as well as some tips on how you can avoid these common mistakes.

 

9 Ways Change Management could fail

 

1. Strategic failure

Successful change management starts with knowing the why, and this must be aligned with the organisational strategic goals.

Our solution at Change Agility

We typically start with a canvas that maps the organisational goals against the program, and forms of developing the change management strategy.

The canvas stakes you through a journey of unpacking the change from different lenses, and then merging those to come up with one single truth that all key stakeholders agree with. We then test this against the organisational strategy. Changes aligned to organisational goals are more likely to succeed.

 

2.  Not understanding the scope and scale

Many people underestimate the amount of time and resources it takes to make a change happen.

Our solution at Change Agility

The Impact assessment is the only way a change manager can unpack scope and scale, and it takes time. I often say to clients, if an impact assessment is not done, you don’t have change management. If an impact assessment is done and the “so what” is not answered through the change risk register – you still don’t have change management.

Two of our team members were part of a massive retail implementation, and that program had over 5000 impacts! That was the biggest impact assessment sheet I had ever seen, and you could see the hard work out into it.

What does it all mean for the client? Where should they focus? That’s is where the magic lies, taking all that data and using it for decision making, prioritisation and clarity.

 

3. Neglecting Stakeholders

It is easy to forget other stakeholders in the change management process even though they have a stake in it too. Your solution?

Our solution at Change Agility

The ability to accurately map, segment, and group stakeholders is a key output of any change manager. This allows one to create focus areas but more importantly, not forget a key stakeholder that can derail the entire program if not managed appropriately.

 

4.  Lack of Communication

It is important to remember that you need support from all levels of staff- including managers who are often dealing with multiple projects simultaneously – so communication between parties becomes crucial. Your solution?

Our solution at Change Agility

Our Change Managers have creative writing skills and can develop compelling organisaitonal stories to support your program. From a support perspective, we have an in-house skilled communications specialist who is available for all change managers to assist in crafting communication strategies,  key messaging, and content review.

To ensure that communication lands, where clients do not have design capabilities – we are able to allocate design capabilities to the programme.

5. Poor Buy-in

Buy-in from both senior leadership and entry-level is important for different reasons. Believing in the process is different to being forced into the process.

Our solution at Change Agility

There is no one solution to creating buy-in, however through experience and trusted tools, we are able to create sustainable buy in. In Change Management, that starts with developing an impact assessment that can identify risks, and mitigate them (particularly high risks). It also requires accurate stakeholder mapping to ensure focus where it is required.

“They were thorough and accommodating in developing a plan that suited the unique requirements of each beneficiary.

Their passion for understanding both organisational- and human change behaviour, combined with their unique techniques in guiding leadership teams, make them a rare find.

I will recommend them to any company that is driving sustainable change initiatives.”

Banking Client, SD

 

6. Shortage of Vision

If a company does not have a vision, they will fail. The change management process can be derailed before it begins when you don’t know what the end goal is and those who are implementing haven’t been told either.

Our solution at Change Agility

We like to call it big picture, little picture – and we work through a robust framework to help clients look at their programs through different lenses and develop a narrative that supports their programs.

Without a vision, the program gets lost in the process. The inability to define a tactical plan to bring the vision alive can also derail the program.

 

“They were reliable, patient, gave us comfort, honest, confident, listened to our needs, and came back to us when they did not know the answer to our question. Most importantly they are passionate about what they do.

I will not do another change management project without calling them in as advisors, implementers or just to support us in our journey.

I recommend Change Agility for a change management project and think they serve as a review mirror for their clients, a 360 partner that gives you an overview of things would not ordinarily think of. We see the tip of the iceberg and they unravel the iceberg.” – Banking Client, HR

 

7.  Determined Resistance

Active resistance is a common issue in change management programs. For example, many employees do not want to adjust their habits because they have been doing it for years. It may be difficult or challenging to learn new processes that they are unfamiliar with.

Our solution at Change Agility

Our clients can attest to the fact that we don’t come into programs to stifle conversations. We believe that surfaced resistance is better managed, and we have various tools we use to enable conversations to happen.

“As the Centre of Expertise Manager, I have appreciated the support and expertise of the Change Agility team. I have been impressed by their adaptability and responsiveness to our needs during this unprecedented time of crisis. Despite the challenges that the project was faced with, the team continued to innovate and find creative solutions to ensure we remained on track with this critical change for our business.”

Mining Client, CEO Manager

 

8.  Inadequate Tooling – Digitization is the new buzzword across all industries, change management is no different.

Without a documented change process, or system of record to support it, a program that began on the right foot can quickly go awry without tools like these.

Our solution at Change Agility

Change Agility uses Chang’d to ensure that irrespective of the methodology the consultant is using, the ability to provide clarity, availability of information, use of data collected and transparency to the client is key.

 

9. Absence of Endurance

Change management projects rarely happen overnight. In addition, even experienced consultants find their projects frequently experience time creep.

Our solution at Change Agility

Sustainable change requires consistency and focus. One of the key areas we develop within our client environments is solid. This is by far, one Change Management activity that will transform your organisation from project to project!

“I am now a converted change agent thanks to Change Agility. Change Agility was hired to help manage the process of our new project. I’m happy to say that they have been delivering on all of our expectations.

Their team is made up of experts in change management, and their insight has helped us reach a better understanding of how we can improve our implementation project. By providing tools that simplify and segment our stakeholder’s engagements to keep a pulse on end-user morale at every phase of the project.

This has inspired user buy-in, as it affords us to address change hindrances throughout the lifespan of the project.“ Sage Implementation Partner, Programme Executive

7. What are the different Change Management Models?

In order to understand change management, it is important to know what a change management model or framework is. There are many different models that can be used in organisations.

Change management models help organisations plan and implement change more successfully. One proven framework or model developed by experts is tested by other businesses. These frameworks or models are a step-by-step approach to maximise the chances of success.

This Zendesk article goes into detail about the different models.

It is important to note that many clients have over the years developed their own in-house models, or adopted a methodology they provide. Our consultants are skilled in various methodologies and placed based on their skills and knowledge.

 

4 Change Management models for specific situations

1. Implementation of a software solutions and process redesign projects

These are typically waterfall or agile implementations, and their timeframes can vary from 3 months to 12 months.  Longer time frame projects

In this instance, we would use ADKAR to support the project for both Waterfall and Agile Projects.

Where the project is of an Agile nature, and the drops timeframes are small (6 weeks or less), we would typically use the AIM Methodology to support the program.

2. Culture / Transformation Programmes

These programs are generally long-term (12- 36 months) and need a combination of approaches. In this instance, we like using Kotter’s 8 steps theory of change and utilising simpler models like Lewins and the Nudge model for mini initiatives/projects within the overall program.

3. Mergers and Acquisitions

Like the system implementation, these projects typically should not take longer than 12 months once the decision has been made to integrate the companies. Working with our Organisational Development consultants, the Change Manager will use our culture accelerated program approach which is based on Kotters 8 steps of change.

4. Team Alignment

Any size team may face challenges or need to align on key ideas and decisions. Our team uses LEGO Serious play, canvases, and sometimes traditional methods to facilitate and enable this process.

 

COVID-19 Response

The reverse culture curve depicted below has been our go-to solution for COVID response, among other creative digital tools we use to engage the workforce at home, onsite or selecting to go for a blended working solution.

8. What is the Change Management process?

The 3 different types of Internal Change all require different processes and strategies to get the desired outcomes and minimize the chances of failure and resistance.

According to Harvard Online Business School this is the basic procedure any project should start out with.

The Change Management process is defined by the size and type of the change, but there are basics that run across all change management processes.

9. How is Change Management Changing?

“For one, clients expect tangible output. Gone are the days of balloons and activations that did not achieve a visible shift in behaviour.”

The “hard side of change” is being embraced, driving the use of data and risk management to handle awareness, understanding and buy-in for sustainable change.

Covid-19 has also pushed Change Managers to become more creative and digitize how they work while remaining effective.”

Change Agility Founder and Director Tlale Mosimane

 

“The new way of working that we find ourselves has forced change managers to shift their approach to organisational change. The way we engage with people has become a lot more digital and our workshops and events have had to shift to more digitally engaging platforms. In addition, change needs to take into account the additional elements and stressors and changes that people now find themselves in due to the Covid 19 pandemic and ensure that the approach is holistically incorporating these elements.”

Senior Change Management Consultant at Change Agility Saskia Davidson

 

“It has become a lot more digital. Engagement used to be a personal (face-to-face) aspect, but now it has to take a far more creative turn due to the fact that most engagement has to be virtual/remote and can become a “drag” for employees quickly.”

Operations Manager at Change Agility Hanlie Krause

 

This article exploring the changing digital landscape of Change Management further highlights our own findings in the field.