By Michelle Grandchamp
On any given day, circumstances will arise that are different than days previous or following. As seen in risk management plans, businesses and organizations need to understand how to adapt to these circumstances in order to make them work in their favour. Though risk management plans are essential for making quick decisions and pivots during times of crisis, what kind of tactics are useful for changes that don’t need to happen on the fly?
Over time, the various conditions and influences on an organization’s operations and practices can be in a continual flux, depending on multiple factors. It’s important to make changes to adjust to these new situations, not only to keep the organization physically operational, but also to maintain healthy relationships among staff and between the organization and its clientele.
Change management plans and strategies
To facilitate these changes, you might benefit from change management. Change management strategies guide us in positively influencing our stakeholders to successfully adopt change. It’s also essential to note that though changes are encouraged, more importantly, changes are inevitable. This means that though undergoing changes either as an individual or as an organization might be difficult or even painful, resisting change might prove even more harmful. Furthermore, learning how to make changes will help develop all aspects of your business, making it more efficient and successful.
Depending on the extent of the change that needs to happen, the effect could be as minimal as a single project or procedure, or as vast as organizational restructuring. Change management strategies exist to ensure that whether big or small, your desired changes are seamlessly integrated into your organization’s daily operations.
For changes to occur, you will need to approach the transition from the current state to the desired state by moving through various phases of adoption.
The most commonly known method of transition is the ADKAR model, which goes carefully through the process of inspiring change across the organization and for each stakeholder. This model is more goal-focused and each step happens sequentially to allow members to acclimatize and feel positively about the change at hand. The phases of this model are as follows:
A – Awareness
Members of the organization are able to recognize the need for change.
D – Desire
Members of the organization are inspired to participate and support the change.
K – Knowledge
Members of the organization understand how to change, and can identify what the change will look like in terms of the expected skills and behaviours.
A – Ability
Members of the organization have the capacity to implement the change on a daily basis.
R – Reinforcement
Members of the organization are able to sustain and endorse the change in the long term.
There are many other models of change management that might be better suited to your organization, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. However, the goal remains the same: your desired outcome being fully integrated into your business.
Remember to stay aware of the impact these changes may have on the members of your organization, allow a reasonable amount of time for adaptation to the new circumstances, and always be transparent about what the rationale and benefits of the changes are in order to provide as many chances as possible for your changes to succeed.
Adopt and implement organizational change
Three levels of change (individual, organizational, and enterprise) ensure that change is properly integrated into an organization and that, once it has been integrated, it sticks.
To encourage individuals to adopt the change as the change is happening, it is important to communicate frequently and consistently, be transparent and ask for feedback. Keep an eye on how these changes are affecting and being managed by individuals in their daily business routine. Monitoring how individuals are responding to changes will help you to mitigate any negative reactions as they come up, as well as to further encourage any positive reactions to the proposed changes. For an individual, change can be experienced at four distinct levels.
Exceptional change management occurs when an individual experiences an isolated event that triggers a reaction resulting in a change being made. Because the event is isolated to a single aspect of the individual’s life, the impact of this event can be relatively limited in how changes are implemented in the individual’s life.
Incremental change management, as the more common way to experience change, can often go unnoticed at first. Slowly over time, changes and new factors are introduced into an individual’s lifestyle until the individual has adopted the changes being implemented without realizing.
Pendulum change management can be seen in a sudden swing from one state to another. This type of change could result in the individual perceiving the situation from a more extreme perspective and totally opposite from their previous view point.
Paradigm change management is typically seen as “real” change, and occurs when information, tasks, behaviours, etc. are reintegrated to create a new belief and value system. This type of change ensures that the new attitudes and informations are fully and successfully adopted by all members of the organization.
As an organization, always keep an eye on the trends and circumstances that make up your business paradigm, and that could create change for your business. These can include both changes made by internal and external forces. Reactions to these forces will depend on how quickly the change needs to be adopted and how deep within the organization’s structure.
Evolutionary change management is the most common type of change management within an organization. This kind of change is inevitable in most businesses, as small adaptations, adjustments, or shifts in day-to-day operations tend to occur naturally based on the circumstances of any given day or situation. Not all evolutionary changes may be significant, but the accumulation of small changes over time will have an effect on how an organization works. Though at first these changes may not be noticeable, they may be quite a bit more obvious in retrospect.
Revolutionary change management can be experienced when change is forced onto an organization by an outside force, such as by external crises. These changes can be accompanied by large power shifts and can result in negative impacts and backlash.
Directed change management is used to achieve a particular objective. This requires making changes within the management, workforce, and organizational culture to align with the strategies and processes needed to accomplish the envisioned change. There are also three different types of directed change management that could come into play:
- Developmental change management can be seen in small improvements throughout the organization, to enhance the products or services being offered, or to further develop the methods of operation.
- Transformational change management occurs when part of the vision of the changes desired can’t be foreseen or predicted, and could only be discerned after various evolutions are used as a trial-and-error basis for future states. These iterations of the changes will help to gather new information and integrate different tactics to better ensure the desired change is successfully adopted.
- Transitional change management takes place when pre-existing states are totally replaced by something completely different. This type of change management, much like the pendulum change management, can be met with much more resistance if the individuals within the organization are not prepared to let go of the “old ways”. This means that while new strategies of change are being implemented, the organization needs to also retire the old state from operations.
Being strategic in change processes is good for your business, and represents the most integrated level of change management.
Enterprise change management is a strategy that is embedded in an organization’s core structures and vision. These strategies are so consistently applied that all members of the organization are well versed in how to effectively adopt change, and are better able to embrace these changes quickly.
Some change initiatives could be yielded from a change management strategy that includes the following:
Growth within systems, processes, tools, cultures, or even of the size or breadth of the organization itself.
Processes and methods for how actions are orchestrated in daily, monthly, or annual practices.
Structural changes to organizations to modify the leadership practices or roles, improve performances, and streamline certain tasks and activities.
Changing it up
As the saying goes, the only constant is change. So why not lean into it and take advantage of the new circumstances that are thrown at us each day? With consistent and effective use of change management strategies, a boatload of support and positive attitudes, plus a pinch of creativity, changes within your business can be a beautiful thing.
These are just a tiny fraction of the resources available to learn more about change management.