Change is inevitable in today’s professional climate. We are constantly transforming the way in which we work, where we work, and whom we work with. Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a practice that is recently gaining global recognition – although it has been around for decades. Change Management success is possible with the right knowledge and tools! Everywhere you turn people are name dropping OCM and its importance.
So, what exactly does managing organizational change mean?
Defining Organizational Change Management:
OCM is the science of managing people through change. This is a social science as its research is focused on human behaviors or people’s reactions to change. Change management involves supporting organizational evolution as employees move into a new way of being; organizational Change is the result of a collection of individuals changing.
Organizations do not make the decision to change… people do. People are the living and breathing things that make organizations run- the heartbeat of the structure. We need them, value them, and honor the change journey they travel. All improvements (big or small) require change and OCM aids in championing these efforts by providing assessments and plans to arrive at the best business outcome.
What Organization Change is Not
Organizational change is not project change. Project management processes that are concerned with shifts in an initiative, like change requests/logs/committees, are not the focus of OCM. These types of changes within projects are most commonly referred to as a “Change Control Process.”
OCM, instead, focuses on interventions throughout the project that can promote an initiative. It affects communications, project leadership, managing resisters, and many other things.
Why use Organizational Change Management?
OCM is an investment (time and financial) in getting leadership the tools to support the people side of change. The benefits of this investment far outweighs the “costs”.
Organizational change management has been proven to help:
- Increase project success
- Support clear messages about the change and improve communication with teams
- Make changes happen in a faster, more cost-effective way
- Make peoples’ work lives better by prioritizing human beings
- Empower employees to embrace and be comfortable with the change
- Create a feedback loop for managers and employees to talk through opportunities
- Provide a system or methodology for the change, increasing the likelihood of change readiness
What is the difference between Organizational Change Management and Project Management?
Project management focuses on the technical side of change. Project managers are concerned with fulfilling requirements of time, budget, scope, quality…among many other areas. Change management addresses the human/people side of change. Change managers are dedicated to preparing people in the areas of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. Although there can be crossover on what change management and project management focuses, they are very distinct and separate disciplines and, in some cases, professions.
Each has specific methodologies, tools, and techniques, and desired outcomes. The shared goal of both is to create a sustainable change, improve adoption, have a positive impact on resources. Change management and Project management complement each other and are most effective when implemented simultaneously and with a strong leader or sponsor.
Organizational Change Management Methodology & Stats:
Kolme Group utilizes the Prosci® methodology as the basis of our Change Management practice because it is evidence-based. In fact, Prosci’s change management techniques are backed by 20 years of research. This investigation shows that when effective change management is incorporated into project implementation the project is: six times more likely to meet or exceed their objectives; two times more likely to stay on budget; and five times more likely to stay on schedule. Click here to learn more about the Prosci Methodology.
Tools of Organizational Change Management:
The main tools used in Organizational Change Management are assessments and plans. Assessments can be utilized throughout the life of the project but are especially useful in preparation for change. Various assessments are available to determine:
- Individual/departmental/organizational readiness for change
- The risk the change might pose
- Whether or not the components of leadership, change management and project management resources are in place
- A Sponsor evaluation
- Team member competencies
The results of those evaluations are used to create tailored/scaled plans. The purpose of the plans is to teach your sponsors/managers to be good leaders throughout the transformation. These documents spell out activities or roles that will need managerial attention during the execution of a project or institutional change. These tactics are developed, and action must be taken for them to be effective.
Next Steps Exactly how important is sponsorship visibility?
Studies have shown that strong sponsorship is as important (if not more important) than communication. Sponsors often think they are solely needed at the beginning of a project or just to make large, executive decisions.
The fact is sponsors need to be involved throughout the life-cycle of the project, make decisions, and participate in exercises like communicating the change and coalition building. Sponsor presence can create an atmosphere of support and excitement… leading the way for the rest of the team.
Does the sponsor act alone as the sole leader of the change?
The answer to this question is a strong, hard, NO! Primary sponsors should build a coalition to support change. This is key if the change is enterprise-wide or spans across multiple departments. It is wise to solicit executives charged with other business units to gain support from the leadership/staff who are affected by the change. Mobilize a team of talent that can cheer a project on throughout the whole company.
To Wrap Up…
- Organizational change management is not a new trend. It is backed by decades of studies.
- Sponsorship is key to the success of your change initiative
- Organizational change management helps by creating a structured approach to the people side of change
- Organizational change management and Project management complement each other as we implement projects
Want to learn more on the fundamentals of Organizational Change Management, check out our webinar here.
Why do we care and how can we help? Kolme Group has helped our clients with free Change Management assessments and high-level planning so they can focus the value of Change management for their organization. Our experienced consultants see great value in using all the tools in our toolbox to make projects thrive!