Organizations undergo change to stay relevant in the marketplace and adapt to scale. Over time, businesses have to respond to internal and external forces that drive change, including modifying employment and leadership positions, rethinking teams and department structures, and updating operating systems and processes. To facilitate smooth transitions across all of these, organizations utilize change management teams.
These teams often need change management consultants.
If you’re interested in business, meticulous with details, and enjoy creative problem-solving, a career as a career management consultant might be a great fit for you.
Keep reading to discover what this role entails and what you need to do to succeed.
What is Change Management?
Change management is all about embracing—you guessed it—change. It’s the collective effort of identifying an organizational change, coming up with a plan of attack, and then implementing that plan step by step.
The goal of any change management strategy is either to minimize losses or maximize long-term gains. However, the revenue of the company isn’t the only aspect to consider. Change can affects employees too, and their satisfaction should be taken into consideration in the planning and implementation phases.
As a change management consultant, you’ll most likely take part in all three main duties: preparing, implementing, and executing organizational change. You’ll also develop measurements of success, and take into account risk mitigation strategies.1
What Is the Role of a Change Management Consultant?
The role of a change management consultant involves business and psychology. While a distinctly managerial or leadership position will prioritize the financial side of things, your job is to prioritize the people side of business.
As a change management consultant, you’ll mainly work on identifying the changes that need to be made, designing the plans needed to go about these adjustments, and assessing the progress along the way.
Here are some examples of responsibilities:
- Implement a systematic approach to understanding the change needed and how to build a strategy to support that change.
- Work with the current management teams—sales, executives, HR, etc.—to identify problem areas and possible solutions.
- Communicate your plans to both senior leaders and company employees.
- Provide training and support to all necessary teams.
- Analyze risk factors and set up protocols to mitigate those risks.
- Adapt to any unforeseen changes in the plan.
- Track the project by setting up goals and progress metrics.
- Set up metrics for success and metrics for failure to evaluate your plan.
- Coordinate plans end-to-end with every other change management team member and ensure all members have actionable tasks.
The 7 Rs of Change Management
One tool that is used in change management is a checklist called “The Seven Rs of Change Management,” which stems from the process used by the information technology sector. By asking yourself and your fellow colleagues these seven questions when assessing potential changes, you’ll be able to maximize the chance of success and feel confident moving forward.
These are the 7 Rs, as listed by Daniel Irwin5:
- Raised – Who raised the initial change request?
- Reason – What is the reason behind the change?
- Return – What return is expected from the change?
- Risks – What risks are involved in the change?
- Responsible – Who is responsible to create, test, and implement the change?
- Resources – What resources are required to execute the change?
- Relationship – What is the relationship between this change and others like it?
This process helps calculate “risk vs reward” by giving consultants a clear view of who is involved, the capital needed, and what the potential upside is for the change.
How Do You Become a Change Management Consultant?
Change management consultants are constantly being challenged with new situations. As such, many consultants find the work to be exciting, and employers are always on the lookout for creative, organized individuals to bring under the fold.
If this sounds like a career choice for you, the next question is: How do you become a change management consultant?
Let’s detail the educational requirements and the necessary skills to succeed:
What Education Do You Need As a Change Management Consultant?
Education requirements for change management consultants can vary depending on the industry you’ll be working in and your specific duties within the position. At the minimum, most employers require a bachelor’s degree. However, getting a master’s degree allows you to stand out amongst other applicants, be eligible for higher pay, and open up additional job opportunities2.
According to ZipRecruiter2, bachelor’s degrees in areas like organizational psychology, business administration, or other related fields are considered relevant. Whether you’re moving forward with a degree that leans more heavily towards the psychological or business perspective, it’s helpful to get a degree from a reputable school that offers specializations. That way, you can have an applicable, well-rounded set of skills.
Here are some things to look for in a bachelor’s degree:
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology – Pay attention to connections to leading organizations in the field, such as the American Psychological Association (APA). You may also want to get involved with professional training opportunities in applied settings that mirror the type of workplace environment you’ll be looking for after graduation.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Picking a business school with accreditations from well-known establishments like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is a great way to build your own reputation. You’ll also want to find a school with professional training opportunities and options for degree specialization.
At a university like Alliant University, you can be sure you’re gaining both the theoretical understanding that change management consultants require, as well as the practical experience needed to thrive.
What Skills Should Change Management Consultants Have?
Beyond meeting the degree requirements, or surpassing them with a graduate-level degree, having certain personality traits, interpersonal skills, and the experiences to prove your proficiency can also be important.3
As a change management consultant, you’ll be expected to be well-versed in the following:
- Good communication and listening skills exhibited with clients or customers, stakeholders, employees, and executives
- Experience in areas of engagement, behavioral, and cultural changes
- Designing actionable plans, evaluating risks, and identifying evaluation metrics to track progress and success
- Organizing, overseeing, and assessing programs and plans as they are carried out
- Concentrating on personal employee development through plans like cultural sensitivity and behavioral training programs
- Understanding industry-specific sectors that impact the organization’s plans for change
The Importance of Balance
Being a change management consultant is a balancing act that demands constant awareness of the situations around you. If you are a detail-oriented multi-taskers with a broad worldview, this is a role you’ll thrive in.
Another part of the job is coming up with time-sensitive solutions. However, your ideas can’t be made in haste, or they run the risk of being underdeveloped and damaging to the company and its employees. You may also have to handle personal workplace matters like instructing cultural sensitivity training or assessing how to respond to behavioral issues. This requires you to communicate policies clearly while also presenting them in a way that people will be receptive to them.
Balancing the push and pull of multifaceted issues and having the ability to see changes from multiple viewpoints is an important part of change management consulting.
Start Your Journey at Alliant University
Whether you’re looking to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, or would rather aim for a Master’s in Organizational Psychology, Alliant International University has the programs you need to become a change management consultant.
Alliant’s accredited degree programs are offered both online and in-person with multiple enrollment periods, so you have flexible options to pursue your degree. The individualized learning experience even carries over into your studies—you get the freedom to choose degree specialization in areas like Digital Marketing, Hospitality Management, and Information Systems and Technology Management.
With a unique, personalized education and opportunities for career experience, you can graduate from Alliant with a well-rounded degree.
- Changeboard Team, “Change Management Consultant Job Description,” Changeboard, accessed November 23, 2021, https://www.changeboard.com/article-details/16677/change-management-con….
- “Q: How to Become a Change Management Consultant,” ZipRecruiter, accessed November 23, 2021, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/e/How-to-Become-a-Change-Management-Consul….
- Kristen Hicks, “6 Essential Skills for Successful Change Management,” Zendesk, accessed November 23, 2021, https://www.zendesk.com/blog/skills-change-management/.
- “Average Change Management Consultant Salary,” PayScale, accessed November 23, 2021, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Change_Management_Consultant/S….
- Irwin, Daniel. “7 Rs of change Management.” https://medium.com/@marketing_99371/7-rs-of-change-management-7c5cde17c…. Accessed November 23, 2021