What is Change Management?

What is Change Management?

The mere thought of ‘change’ freaks people out. Most people and even organizations would rather continue to do things the same way than adopt new ways of doing things. The question of how to deal with and manage change is what Change Management is about.

Change Management is the discipline that helps organizations to adopt, implement and adapt to change. Also, Change Management deals with the effect, management and impact of change.

The purpose of Change Management is to provide a structured approach for implementing, driving and sustaining change. In addition, Change Management provides guidelines for helping people adapt to change.

What brings about change
We are in a world where things keep happening. From the good stuff to the bad ones, the world itself is not static! New technologies have emerged; consumer habits have changed; organizations have been restructured; businesses are faced with diverse problems and the list goes on.

These change drivers dictate how organizations carry out their strategic objectives. In addition, the change drivers give a clear picture and direction as to why a change initiative is being carried out.

When an organization wants to move from its current state to the desired state, it undertakes a project or sets a course of action. For instance, if an organization wants to address key issues, or improve its performance, or seize opportunities, then the organization describes the direction it wants to take and how it will achieve the stated objective.

These actions may impact the organizations’ existing processes, job roles, and the organizational structure, just to mention a few. As a result, the inevitable happens — change.

The need for a Change Management standard
As with all professions, a set of principles, guidelines, and tools are put in place to test and validate the skills and competencies required of a professional. The principles, guidelines, and tools are developed by experts in a given field. These experts have tested and tried various methods and tools. Also, the standard they come up with is based on openness, consensus, and due process.

Without a structured approach to managing change, it becomes difficult to successfully implement change within an organization. Organizations are made up of people who will ultimately drive change. Ironically, research has shown that people are not comfortable with change, whether at work or at home. As a result of this, most organizations are not clear as to what to expect when they implement a change initiative.

Due to the enormous impact change can have on all layers of organizations, there was a need to develop a standard approach to managing change. This standard is developed to address the inherent problems associated with adopting and adapting to change. Furthermore, a committee of change management professionals who have wealth of experience as change managers came up with the change management standard.

Change Management, as we call it today, helps organizations to successfully implement, adapt and sustain the benefits and outcomes of change.

How Change Management evolved
Change Management has its root in the mid-20th century. During this period, changes in social and organizational structures created an environment where change was rapid and erratic.

As time went on, organizational development practitioners and academics began to look at the social and psychological sides of change. They carried out studies to understand how people perceive and adapt to change. They saw people as the key drivers of change in organizations.

To give a bit of structure to managing change, project and programme management professionals looked at change from another perspective. Their profession provided structure, tools, and processes that help organizations to manage change.

Today different concepts, theories, and models have found their place in Change Management. Change Management continues to grow as a profession, as more people are now aware of the impact change can have on all layers of an organization.

To learn more, please visit our ‘history of Change Management’ page.

Benefits of Change Management to individuals and organizations
The impact of change is felt by individuals and organizations. For individuals, knowledge of Change Management shows that you have what it takes to adapt to change. In addition, it proves to employers that you can work in any environment thereby increasing your marketability.

Organizations who adopt the Change Management framework stand a better chance of increasing its return on investment, staff productivity, and competitive edge.

Please visit our ‘benefits of Change Management’ page to learn more.

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