What is change management?
Change management is a structured approach to preparing and supporting individuals and organisations in planning and implementing change. It comprises models, processes and techniques to help ease the impact change can have on a business.
Change management helps you consider several critical questions:
- What needs to change within your business and why?
- What resources will you need to achieve this change?
- How will you manage and communicate this change?
- What will the impact be on your employees and organisation?
- What are the implications for your customers?
You could be implementing new software, re-engineering a process, redesigning a product or pursuing full business transformation. Navigating change, especially a significant one, can be difficult, so it may help to follow a controlled, coordinated and well-established process.
Importance of change management
Change management is critical in today's markets and business environment.
Customers, competition, technology and other external and internal drivers may inevitably force your business to respond to changing conditions. A robust change management approach and agile practices can help your business to survive even the most unexpected crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even when circumstances don't impose change, businesses frequently choose to plan and adopt change to encourage growth and improvement. If you want to succeed and stay ahead of the competition, you have to be able to rapidly and successfully manage change. See more on the benefits of change management.
It's important to recognise that businesses respond to change in many different ways. Depending on how they manage it, change can either provide a platform for growth and success, or cause problems for individuals, teams and even entire organisations.
You can follow simple change management principles to help you manage change and achieve lasting impact within your business.
Ability to manage change in business
There are varying levels of change management capability across organisations. These can range from little or no formal change management (with the highest rate of failure and productivity loss) to complete change management competency (with highest profitability and continuous improvement process in place).
In between these two, there is a multitude of other approaches to change management, which can be used at individual project level or with multiple projects, or embedded in organisational standards and methods.