Exactly What is Change Management (And How Does it Work?)

Every organisation will go through periods of change during its existence. Organisations that fail to adapt to the times will, in time, fail themselves. How those periods of change are managed will also play a massive part in the success of those changes. Change management is the general term used for the structured approach to enacting change, preferably done in a way that achieves the most desirable results for the whole organisation. Let’s take a closer look at how change management works.

Defining key outcomes and objectives

One of the first stages to change management is closely defining key desirable objectives and outcomes. While organisations often recognise that something needs to change, it’s common that a lack of clear communication will result in everyone having different ideas – often while thinking that they’re all on the same page. Part of change management is ensuring that everyone is clear on the objectives; it’s a key prerequisite – without a shared common vision, it’s impossible for everyone to work towards the same goal.

Empowering individuals

Modern change management rests on the ideology that to enact change, the people in an organisation need to be empowered. While change management often consists of bringing in an external provider, such as MovePlan, to give expert assistance, they will often focus their efforts on the individuals within a company, rather than on enacting the change themselves. This is because, at its core, an organisation is the people that constitute it; without the understanding and effort of its employees, no change will be enacted successfully.

Most resistance to change often comes from within the organisation itself; an important part of change management is helping to quell resistance. This can be achieved through training and transparency, but time is also often a key ingredient, as acceptance of change is rarely something that can be rushed.

Implementing strategies

Change management also largely consists of implementing strategies to effectively enact change. The strategy must aim to consider how the change will affect the organisation on every level; that includes systems, processes, and the employees themselves. Coherent strategies also help to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to outcomes and how to go about realising them. Strategies will frequently include role allocations, decreasing the possibility that certain tasks go undone due to employees thinking it’s not their responsibility.

The result

The result of the processes listed above should be that the organisation in question is ready to effectively enact change all by itself. The organisation as a whole should now be clear on what the overarching goals are, and how it’s going to go about achieving them, on both a personal and organisational level. Communication structures should be in place, along with a strategy on how to achieve each step in the process of achieving the specific and general goals.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum