Change Management

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Change is hard but not impossible

Importance of Change Management

Planning a change is easy and implementing a change is simple, compared to changing people's minds to embrace it and motivating them to change their behavior. You may have sound reasons for making a change, and the authority to make the decision, but if you ignore the people impacted you will probably fail. Those people and their support, are the keys to your success.

We focus on what we are comfortable with

There are two components to a successful change, technical and relational. Fail at either one and you will not have a successful change. You might still get the change implemented, but it is going to be far from smooth.

We are a technological society, and most organizations are better at the technical aspects of a change than the relational. That shouldn't surprise anyone. But now, think about how we react when a project is having problems. What do we do? We usually dig into the technical aspects to see if we missed anything. It is our nature to focus on what we understand, and that often means making slight improvements to the parts of the change that weren't really hurting us anyway, while ignoring the parts that were derailing us.

The good news

The good news is that people generally want to help you succeed, they want the company to succeed and they really do want to do the best job they possibly can. They don’t want to change, but they want to do the right thing. If you can help them understand the change, the reasons for it and the value it will bring, you can turn them into supporters.

The change management process is one of identifying what information people need and how best to present it. Make sure they understand the need for the change and gain their support for the change rather than for the plan to make the change. Allow them a role in the formation of the plan whenever you can, and praise their efforts in making the change possible. This will help ensure the success of the change, which in turn is your success.

Components of a typical change management plan