STRATEGIC CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Change is imperative for a business to continue to thrive and meet and exceed the competition. These changes need to be made carefully and in a conscientious manner. Strategic change management is the process of managing change in a structured and thoughtful way in order to meet organizational goals, objectives and missions. Developing a proper change management strategy provides a proper direction and purpose for change management plans for a business.
Why is Strategic Change Management needed?
A change management strategy is needed in place for an effective transformation. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not the efficient and effective way for change management. There are drastically distinctive changes in every business and each strategy will differ from each other depending on the type of change the business is going through. Each plan has to be carefully planned and executed. Change management strategies define the approach needed to manage change, effectively and efficiently given the unique situation of the project or the business.
Elements of a Change Management Strategy
A change management strategy must include a proper understanding of the unique characteristics of the transformation to plan and implement an efficient strategy. Also the Change management strategy needs to analyze the risks of the change and potential resistance to the change.
It is important for the business to identify various perspectives of the change. Questions like: How big is the change? Has the business handled a similar change before? How will it affect the business and it’s working? – These are few of the questions that the business will need to answer, as a proper strategy for managing change is prepared.
The business needs to begin by evaluating and understand the nature of the change that is introduced. Changes can be in anything; in formalized projects, strategic initiatives or even in how the organization operates. When understanding the characteristic of the change, the following need to be answered:
It is also important to notice the people and the groups that are being impacted by the change. Changes related to the organization and culture of the organization is of paramount importance. Following points will have to be considered:
The final steps in building the roadmap for a proper strategy is to identify who is being impacted and how are they being impacted. A single change, will impact different groups uniquely. Outlining the steps in such a case shall enable the business to develop specific and customized plans in the change management process.
To implement the strategic change management plans successfully, the business needs an efficient and effective team and sponsor to support the strategic plan. The change management team identifies members in the business that will be carrying out the strategic plan. An effective strategic change management plan depends on a successful relationship between the project team (who are affected by the change) and the members of the change management team. In such a case, a change manager is introduced to the team or a centralized change management team is embedded into the project team or one of the project team members is assigned the change management. The key of an efficient change management strategy is to make an informed decision while assigning change management responsibilities and resources.
Along with the team, it is necessary for the business to identify leaders and managers who need to actively be engaged in leading the change management strategy. The person will become the spokesperson for the business and will be actively involved throughout the project.
To identify the success of the strategies of change management, the business will need to conduct assessments, analysis of the characteristics of change and the customized solutions, if any, developed to manage change. It is important for the business to manage the people side of the change. Along with it, the business needs to give special focus to changes that are dramatic and reaches the business at all levels for they possess a higher risk. Similarly, businesses that have a history of resisting change face higher risk. Therefore while designing a strategic change management plan, the business needs to consider and document the overall risks.
Simultaneously it is very important that the business identifies situation where resistance to change can be expected and hence create a strategy for the same accordingly.
The final step of the change management strategy is identification of special tactics that may be needed to address a specific change initiative. Any special strategy that is developed in the course of the change management process will need to be tested for how it impacts the different people and segments of the business. Also, this strategy will have to be revisited and updated.
Elements of a Change Management Strategy
Formulating a strategically critical change management plan is the first step to implementing the change management methodology. A well-formulated strategy provides direction throughout the change management process and brings the change to life and describes who will be affected and how it will affect the business in the long run. The change management strategy includes the three elements discussed above and these three elements are driven to success by:
Business projects are able to meet their objectives and goals when they are able to successfully manage the human side of the change effectively. A robust strategy is important for an effective change management system and therefore the project’s success. The Kotter’s change model defines the proper strategic change management methodology that the business can use to manage change.
Dealing with changes across business units has become a permanent feature of the business landscape. To meet the ever-growing challenges, businesses need to become more sophisticated to use a proper strategic change management plan to ensure proper adaptation of the change in the built of the business.