Experiencing change, especially when it’s unexpected, can be taxing. However, change is an unavoidable part of life that serves as an opportunity for growth. For both social groups and businesses, these are the defining moments that can make or break the organization’s success.
Taking the time to assess potential changes, design a thorough plan, implement it, and see it to fruition is crucial when it comes to managing change in a seamless, positive way. Keep reading to learn more about each step of creating an effective organizational change management process.
What Is Organizational Change Management?
Before defining change management and delving into the steps of the process, it’s important to have an understanding of organizational change.
What Is Organizational Change?
Changes within an organization are often assumed to be financial-based. Though this is only one side of the equation1. The social side of an organization is just as important, if not more, and requires modifications from time to time too.
Organizational change happens whenever a social organization, business, or movement takes actions that alter internal structures, operations, or logistics. Here are some examples:
- Identifying diversity goals to create a more inclusive environment
- Handling behavioral and cultural sensitivity training
- Addressing new hiring policies to negate discrimination
- Shifting team structures or leadership positions
- Upgrading to more efficient or new technology
In these ways, change management can play an equal role in both social and financial changes.
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What Is Change Management?
Change management focuses on addressing these changes and finding ways to make transitions smooth and beneficial for everyone involved—it’s a highly people-oriented aspect of organizations2. By finding ways to help group members and participants (if you’re a social organization) or employees and business partners (if you’re a business) adopt and embrace specific changes, everyone involved within the organization benefits.
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The change management process is usually carried out by a team of trained individuals who begin the process together and, after the preparation phases, then fill one of the following roles:
Leaders are the team members who think big-picture and are in charge of articulating what the change is, why it’s happening, and how it’ll apply to volunteers, members, employees, executives, and other members of an organization.
This role can be designated to someone separately or can be tacked onto a managerial or consulting position—those roles are typically given to separate people.
After designing a specific process, managers have directing duties like allocating resources, adapting the process if necessary, and determining a way to measure success. Managers are ultimately responsible for the successful implementation of a change initiative.
The standard requirements for this position is a bachelor’s degree related to psychology. While it doesn’t have to be Organizational Psychology, understanding the human factor is critical to improving the social landscape within an organization.
Change management consultants place the majority of their energy on people and how those in the organization are affected by change. While leaders do more presentation-style discussions, successful change consultants handle interpersonal communication.
Consultants should try to have a bachelor’s degree related psychology, at a minimum. An ideal candidate—similar to leaders and managers—might hold a Master’s in Organizational Psychology or a PhD in Organizational Psychology.
What Is the Change Management Process?
The process that the organizational change management team use to make these transitions can be broken up into five steps:
- Assess the need for a potential change
- Strategize a plan for undergoing that change
- Implement that plan within the organization
- Adjust as necessary during execution
- Review results and gather feedback
Effective organizational management is mindful of everyone’s time, energy, and resources. That said, never have social changes been more crucial. To enact effective change, here are the individual steps of the change management process.
Assess Necessity and Readiness
One tactic of remembering all of the important questions during the change process is to follow the method known as the 7 Rs of Change Management. While it originated as an approach used in the information technology industry, it has proven to be a helpful tool in social groups, like community organizations and companies.
These are the 7 Rs3:
- Who brought up the initial request for change—who raised the question?
- Why was the question raised—what is the reason for the change?
- What kind of returns or changes should the organization expect?
- What are the downsides and risks involved with such a change?
- How will the change be implemented and who is responsible for the plan?
- What investment of resources is needed?
- How does this change relate to other necessary changes?
By performing an initial analysis of these questions, you can quickly formulate the pros and cons of implementing the proposed change.
Strategize and Communicate a Plan
Once you have assessed your readiness as an organization, creating a sequence-based course of action is the next step. After that, a member of the change management team will be responsible for communicating the plan to leaders of the organization.
Implement the Course of Action
Getting the plan in motion can be the hardest part. Oftentimes the change management team will have to conduct training for other members. During the change implementation phase, you should start looking for the risks identified earlier.
Adjust to Setbacks and Resistance
Unexpected setbacks are part of life, but one speed bump you can anticipate is community resistance. It’s normal to be met with some resistance, especially upon the implementation of a major change, but there needs to be a proactive response ready because persistent resistance can hinder social changes.
After-Project Review: Feedback and Corrective Action
After execution, collecting data and feedback from those who were a part of the project is crucial for maintenance. Analyzing feedback may prove that there need to be additional corrective actions taken to ensure the successful adoption of the change initiative.
Becoming a Part of the Change
If the change management process seems like something you’d like to be a part of, getting specialized education and training is a great place to start.
At Alliant International University you can gain knowledge of the psychology behind effective organizational management. With online and in-person schooling options, real-world professional experience, and fast-tracked master’s programs, you’ll be pursuing becoming a member of a change management team in no time.
- Study.com, What is Organizational Change? Theory & Example, https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-organizational-change-theory-e…., Accessed Nov. 29, 2021
- American Association for Quality, What is Change Management?, https://asq.org/quality-resources/change-management, Accessed Nov. 29, 2021
- Daniel Irwin, 7 Rs of Change Management, https://medium.com/@marketing_99371/7-rs-of-change-management-7c5cde17c…, Accessed Nov. 29, 2021