Change management is the application of a structured approach to transition an organization from its current state to a desired future state. Effective change management not only reduces the risk of changes being rejected, but also helps ensure changes accurately target their objectives.
Roles and Responsibilities in Change Management
- A change management lead is accountable and responsible for the change strategy. They assess the change needed, outline an implementation plan, and oversee the execution of the plan.
- A change sponsor is an individual or group that defines and promotes the change goals, is accountable for benefit realization, and serve as the ultimate authority on decision making and funding.
- Change agents are charged with modeling behaviors required for successful change and giving feedback on changes.
- A change management team designs and develops the tools for change adoption. The team gathers and aggregates feedback, conducts training, and communicates changes to those who are impacted.
- A change management practitioner coordinates and tracks change management activities.
Change Management Terminology
- Adoption is acceptance and demonstration of new ways of thinking or behaving that are consistent with future state behavior
- A benefit is a quantitative or qualitative desirable outcome that results from a change
- Benefit realization is the achievement of the expected benefits of a change
- Current state is the condition of a system at the time when change is initiated, or simply put it's the "status quo"
- Future state is the condition of a system at the time when the benefits of a change have been realized
A transition is the change from the current state to the future state, and is the primary focus of change management. Typical transitions result in an initial drop in performance while teams become accustomed to the change; however, successful change management helps teams navigate through the transition to establish a "new normal" where performance eventually exceeds the old status quo as a result of the change.
A classic example of the typical transition curve is roadway construction. During the construction, traffic slows down and the problem of traffic may seem worse than ever. However, once construction is completed, traffic flows more smoothly than before construction began.
Change Management Resources
- HBR: 3 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Organizational Change
- McKinsey: Personalizing change management in the smartphone era
- Change management Tweeters
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