3 The concept of change management
It has been argued that managing change is 80% people stuff and only 20% process. We have seen great change processes come to nothing and great transformations that had very little rational process and structure – it just happened.
And actually when you think of management – really you should spend most of your time figuring out how you can enable your people to do their best – it is the same with change management.
It is invariably the messy, emotional people stuff that gets in the way of a beautifully crafted and executed change management project. More specifically, the things that go through people’s minds about the change.
So managing change is about:
- realising and exposing the gaps between where you are and where you want to be.
- digging into the individual and organisational mindset on change in general and the gap in particular.
- designing a process that will navigate the transformation and bring people along on a journey of continuous improvement.
And there are 15 steps to take to manage a specific change, and in the process create a culture that will foster a willingness in people to continually improve and adapt. Importantly, these steps are iterative – they are not necessarily sequential. The nature of the gap will shift as each new perspective is added to the pool of thought around it; the goal might even shift and the strategies for achieving the goal will most certainly evolve. This is because: To engage people – I mean really engage them, you have to be genuinely open to how they view the situation and what alternative ideas they bring. In this way you will find what Covey called the ‘third alternative’.
So the steps are:
- Plan change: For discrete, and significant changes, (e.g. like a total turn around or redesign) – that will result in an operational plan. Then give people the time, tools, resources and skills they need to make the transition – plan it carefully and collaboratively.
- Engagement: Engage those who have a stake in the situation or change in identifying the gap, defining the reasons and process of change as early as possible. Ideally, you will have fostered a culture and processes that encourage people to continually identify opportunities for improvement so major change may well be instigated by the people on the ground. Create opportunities for people to discuss and debrief throughout the transition. Regular meetings or on-line discussions – these do not have to be onerous or even very long – they can be an agenda item on an existing meeting or a lunch time catchup over food.
- Transition: Understand what the change means to those affected by it. Is it exciting or scary? What do they believe they will loose in the change process (i.e. are they attached to)? Where do they see themselves in the new regime? If they have no idea, you will need to help them paint a picture that appeals to them. Discuss the changes they have made throughout their lives. The thing is that we are always changing and evolving. By creating a big deal out it, we might be making it sound like something foreign and scary.
We will touch on each of these 15 sets but using a particular process and tool that has come out of the Lean Methodology – the A3, which you can down load here: