Change management is the process of ensuring improvements to a system are absorbed and adopted as best as possible.  As noted in the blog on process improvement the company must first ask itself what do we want to achieve with this change (the goal).  Change management requires the company to ask who will be affected by these improvements, how will they react, and will the reaction benefit the improved process?  The company must also determine if the change can be implemented within management, within the company (including employees), or with the assistance of external parties.

The reason for the change needs to be clearly explained to those that will be affected.  In person communication is better than written communication but in person and written communication is the best choice.  Involving those that will be affected is an important step to gain consensus among all affected.  Their input in the planning of change will likely give additional insights in how to affectively implement change and how to accurately measure the impact of the changes.

How the affected reacts will depend on how and when they are informed of the change.  For example, an Jigsaw-Change-Managementimprovement in the process could be externally hiring better paid employees to perform a task not done before.  Those affected are the first line manager, anyone else in the section/department, and anyone internally capable of doing the better paid job that wasn’t given an opportunity to apply for the job.  Those who weren’t given an opportunity to apply will likely not be happy.

Whether the change is mainly determined at a management, whole company, or external party those affected need to buy in to the change.  The most effected way to gain buy in is to allow them to participate in the change.  This provides a sense of ownership on their part.  Ownership creates familiarity and makes the transition easier because it will not be sprung on them.  The point being regardless of where the change is implemented to allow those affected to have a sense of ownership.

When done correctly change management will rely on negotiation or perception management because change is hard and it is often easier to accept when viewed from a different view point.

Author,

James Webb

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