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Change before you have to – Change Management

- By Dwaipayan, 29 March 2021 | 6 MIN READ


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Change and change management can sound synonymous, but there are major differences between the two. As we start addressing the change and change management, the better position we will be as change management practitioners—with a clearer scope, and shared direction and purpose.

Difference between change and change management

Change management is about assisting employees impacted by the change during individual transitions. Let’s delve deep and find out the differences between change and change management.

Change is about moving out from the current state – a transition state – to a future state. This concept of three states of change is a common practice in management literature and other improvement disciplines.

Change is the essence of life: at home, in our community, and at work. Changes can be within or beyond. A change can be a spectacular experience from what we know, or it can be trivial.

Typically, we take an organizational standpoint when talking about change:

The change could be – moving to an integrated system from numerous legacy systems

Merging two organizations/groups

Launching a new product to the market

Introducing new equipment into the manufacturing processes

Each of the above examples has a clear current state and a clear future state. When we embark upon a project or proposal in the organization, we offer structure to the effort of inventing the future state and adopting a solution for the transition state.

If you watch closely, every organizational change has individual impacts on the tens, hundreds or thousands of employees who must do their jobs differently when they adopt the solution.

Organizations moving up to new systems, practices, and business needs to support employees impacted by the change through their transitions, equipping and enabling them to move from their current state to their future state.

Employees during the transition period

Most of the time employees will rapidly engage with the change. Few will be reluctant. There will be mixed feelings about the change. Some employees will quickly move through the transition, others may take some time, and sometimes there will be a group/union that will not adopt the change at all. It is when change management provides the process, tools, and principles to support the individual transitions precipitated from an organizational future state.

The connection between "change" and "change management" can be characterized as follows:

Here the results and outcomes of a project or initiative depend on employees adopting the change and doing their jobs differently, change management is essential for delivering those results and outcomes.

How can you eliminate the confusion? Are you going through a lack of clarity, confusion about change and change management?

Project leaders and teams

Solution designers and developers

Executives and senior leaders

Other change management practitioners

Other stakeholders

Use the states of change

Introduce and position change management by describing the states of change at both the organizational level and the individual level. Start the conversation about the current state, transition state, and future state. And then continue the conversation to focus on individual current states, transition states, and future states.

To illustrate this clearly for others, ask them to do a basic exercise. On a sheet of paper or whiteboard, make two columns, Now have your audience (project team, senior leader, etc.) define the future state of the organizational change on the left side. On the right side, have them define five specific individual future states that the change will cause.

Ask a simple yet persuasive question

Who will have to do their jobs differently because of this project or initiative? This is the beginning of the process of segmenting out the impacted groups, so you can address them specifically from a change management perspective. By asking and helping to answer the question, you are establishing a working relationship with the project team, which provides a solid start for your change management work.

When people and teams can't distinguish change from change management, your efforts to move your initiative forward can stall. Taking simple steps to clarify the differences in your organization highlights the benefits of change management, enables greater buy-in and support, and sets you up for greater success with change.

Change management is a critical skill in today’s c-suite – and specifically in Sales and Marketing. Being able to design, execute, and sustain change is key to continually improving the health of your organization. In order to drive effective transformation, executive visions for change and the promise of the brand, and specifically how it helps your organization get to its destination, must be fully aligned with leadership and communication styles.

Change management is a challenge for every organization. It’s important that everyone involved approaches organizational changes with an open mind, and innovative yet proven methodologies to adapt.

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