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What is Change Management?

Most people in business today have heard of the term, but what is change management exactly? Whenever new processes and policies are introduced to an organization, the act of successfully implementing them is called change management. Making the transition from one way of doing things to another can be disruptive and counter-productive or it can be done smoothly and with minimum of stress, provided it is done properly. Here are some of the important features of effective change management:

1. Change Takes Time

One of the key things to consider when making changes in your organization is how fast or slow you need that change to occur. Without well defined time tables for when you expect to achieve change the chances are your transition will occur too  slowly, too quickly or not at all!

2. Lessen Resistance

Rare is the change that does not upset someone's comfort zone. Therefore figure out in advance who is most likely to resist your plans for change. Once you know where resistance is likely to come from, reach out to those people to try to bring them on board. Often times simply discussing possible areas of conflict with those most likely to complain will lessen or even eliminate the areas of resistance before a serious challenge can arise.

4. Make a Plan

Successful change management is guided by a model or framework that those involved can refer to in order to understand what changes are expected of them. Making it up as you go along is not an effective way to transform your organization, usually resulting in confusion that will cause resentment and inefficiencies. A good outline for change means having a model that will provide the framework for the easiest and stress free transformation. No one who is affected by the changes should be assumed to know or understand the transformations planned without being specifically told. In other words, better to explain too often than too little.

5. Explain the Desired Outcome

People will put up with a surprising amount of short term inconvenience and adjustment if they can see what the transformed organization will look like at the end of the process and why it will be better. Change is never easy, and successful change management makes certain that no matter how novel and unfamiliar the changes may be in the short term, that everyone understands the long term success. 

When done effectively, change management can keep your organization vibrant, modern and near the top of your field. Handled badly, it can cause disruption, confusion and loss of morale. Unless you already know yourself what is change management and how to handle it don't be afraid to consult a professional.

What is Change Management? - Related Articles:

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What is Change Management? - Recommended Resources

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Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools and Techniques of Organizational Change

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