Change management is a structured management methodology that transitions a process, function or organization from present state to a planned future state ensuring that both targets are met and that staff embrace implanted changes. But what are the best practices when it comes to change management? Well, here is a guide to the top 10 change management best practices!
1. The most fundamental change management practice has to be the principle that change management affects everyone. It is not simply about staff, nor is it simply about process or indeed the management, instead it is about everyone.
2. The change management strategy needs to be a strategy that is honest, open and accessible to all within the workplace so that people can read it and absorb it at their own pace.
3. The overall aim of the change management process is to help the business adapt to change and survive with as little disruption as possible. It should not detract from this aim and needs to be impartial when achieving this goal.
4. Best practice with regard to change management also dictates that there has to be clear, open and honest communication that will happen as a two way process. Staff can expect management to be honest and open, but in turn they also have to be honest and open.
5. The whole process of change management has to be proactive, rather than waiting for things to happen and then reacting, change management has to get in there first and anticipate the events and ensure that people embrace them throughout the organization.
6. The change manager has to be a strong person who is able to identify with people and be empathetic, but be detached enough to persuade them to come on board and embrace the changes. This sounds simple, but in fact requires a strong skill set!
7. The change manager also has a duty to make sure that everyone understands what will happen if change does not happen. This is difficult to achieve without frightening staff. For example, it is almost easy to say that without change everyone will lose their jobs. But this does little for team morale or embracing change. So the change manager has to work hard to ensure that staff understand the implications of no change, but they are not simply accepting change through fear.
8. Often as change happens, decisions are taken that affect the change and things can change dramatically; so when staff have been encouraged to accept change that will result in situation A developing, as the change happens B may develop. So change management has to be flexible if it is to achieve best practice.
9. In order to effectively manage change, best practice requires those involved to be aware of what they can and cannot control. For example, there is always a risk from external factors that cannot be controlled by an organization. This needs to be addressed in the change management strategy.
10. Finally change management has to be involved in managing risk from the first day of action until the end of the change transition period. This is critical because risks do vary and fluctuate, so assessing risks has to be a continuous process.
Implementing change in any organization is difficult and at times the risks can seem insurmountable, but best practice with regard to change management can help reduce the risks and smooth over the period of change, so that everyone concerned is at ease with the process.