Embracing Change: What is Change Management?

The American businessman Charles Kettering once said, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” These words are extremely powerful and should be in the back of any entrepreneur’s mind when analyzing ways to improve their business. As an entrepreneur who wants to grow, change is the constant theme that will be present in his / her business journey.

Change management can be defined as the process in which a company identifies areas needing change, develop policies and procedures for the change, implementation of the change, ongoing support for employees, and finally monitoring the execution of the change.

Below is a typical model (ADKAR) of the change management process along with key attributes needed for a successful outcome.

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5 Essential Steps for Effective Change:

1. Identify the need for change

What is the problem the business is currently facing and what are the potential side effects if the problem is not addressed?

2.Develop a plan to address the need

Utilize data to help support the need for transformation within the business. Allowing input from all levels fosters a sense of creativity and sense of inclusion which leads to change being accomplished as opposed to resisted. (Slattery 2013)

3. Implementation of a change initiative

Creating understandable policies and procedures that all employees must follow creates a sense of responsibility. It is preferable that major changes are rolled out in measurable steps as opposed to all at once. (Smartsheet 2019)

4. Support staff

When implementing major process shifts within an organization, there needs to be room for error. Failures should not cause employees to shy away from reporting them because they may be reprimanded. These failures provide an opportunity for process improvement. (Slattery 2013)

5. Monitor post-implementation

Communication channels should be open for feedback to be effective. Data used to develop the original plan for change should be used as a baseline in order to evaluate the improvement caused by the new process.

Clearly, ensuring that employees are on board is the hardest task that a business owner or manager will have when looking to make changes throughout an organization. Utilizing a process like the one above can help reduce the growing pains that are associated with shifts in the way business is conducted.

Remember change is inevitable. Adopting a change management process that fits your organization will help make adapting to future business needs much easier.

Author: Brian Post