5 Critical Steps in Change Management

With a study by Prosci revealing that 81% of the projects with effective change management came in on or under budget, the benefits of change management are clear, yet many transformative initiatives fail due to the mismanagement of change.

The author of this page: Orla Shaughnessy
Orla Shaughnessy, Business Consultant - Change Management & Adoption May 27, 2022

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization's goals, processes or technologies. The purpose of change management is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change. To help your organisation ensure project success let's take a look at 5 key steps in implementing effective change management. 

1. Preparing For Cultural Shift 

Before starting a project, cultural preparation is key.

The preparation phase involves the manager working with the employees to identify the various factors that are contributing to current pain points and the need for change. This step also helps the employees understand the importance of the change and how it will positively impact not only the organisation but their day-to-day. The buy-in from the employees can help remove the barriers to the implementation of the change as well. 

It is also important that the organization identifies the goals and the focus of the project to ensure that the change is successful. This step involves identifying the right people and resources to lead the project. Having a clear understanding of the goals and the process helps in achieving a successful implementation. 

2. Creating a Vision & Planning Change 

In addition to preparing your culture for change, an organization must have the necessary resources and processes in place to successfully implement and manage change, therefore taking the time to map the change is key. This step helps identify any resource gaps and the scope of the project. Project mapping ensures the change is completed in a structured manner instead of as a sudden, unplanned change. 

Clear goals and procedures are also important to create a plan that will help minimize the impact of the project on the business. Having a well-defined and organized change management process can help prevent unexpected issues from harming businesses. For example, a well-planned and controlled change management process for IT services will dramatically reduce the impact of IT infrastructure changes on the business. 

3. Implementation Phase 

Once the plan has been created, all that remains left is to follow the steps outlined and implement the necessary changes. The specific initiative can vary from changes to the company's structure, systems, processes or even employee behaviours. 

As the implementation process begins, change managers should be focused on empowering team members to reach project goals and work to identify and overcome any potential roadblocks to success. Finally, they should also make sure that they consistently communicate the organization's vision and goals to their team members to keep everyone on the same page. 

4. Embedding The Change 

While the project team may move on to different projects, change managers should post go-live remain focused on embedding the change. Ensuring team members do not revert to the old ways of doing things once the focus shifts. This is especially important for organizations that are implementing changes related to processes, workflows, and culture. 

Changing the culture and practices of an organization can prove challenging, in particular where employees are not incentivized to continue with the new way of operating. Such incentives include structures, procedures, and reward systems that can be included in the mix to help keep the changes going. 

5. Analysing The Results 

Once the plan has been executed, it is important to review the results on a regular basis to identify any delta between actual and expected outcomes and apply any necessary actions in a timely manner. Ask for feedback from the team, to identify any areas of concern and leverage these insights to determine whether the changes made can be long-lasting or if additional training, supports or guidance are required to maximise return on investment.  

To find out more about Change Management and how it can help your business, check out our on-demand Change Management and Adoption roundtable featuring insights from Ardagh and Fingal County Council 

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