Anytime an organization needs to adapt or evolve in some way, a change management process (“CMP”) is in order. This process requires a whole host of skills, from preparing employees to managing cross-department cooperation to measuring success. Ultimately, the success of any change management process depends on how well-organized the plan is–and that boils down to the skill levels of everyone involved.
What Is a Change Management Process?
We’ve defined “change management” as “a methodical approach for implementing new procedures, reforms, hierarchies, and strategies.” It can be highly complex, so change management has been refined over the years into a set of specific steps, which together form a change management process. Once a change management model is selected, leaders can run a change management process to address a specific issue, or as part of a continuous improvement initiative.
Change Management Process Models
Models are common in any organizational behavior / HR framework. Just as professional development relies on models like OSKAR, GROW, and SMART, CMP has the Deming Cycle and McKinsey’s 7-S change management framework. These provide an organized method for developing change management ideas.
The Basic Steps of a Change Management Process
In keeping with the classic approach of the Deming cycle (plan, do, study, act), we recommend testing the waters before making a widespread decision. Whatever change is proposed, and if time allows, the change should be initiated on a small scale and analyzed. If everything looks great, then bump it up to the required level. This might be a department, a division, or the entire organization.
Once the green light has been given, and whether you are renewing a production process or completely revamping how you do business, all change management processes follow a similar pattern.
The central idea here is to figure out what needs to be changed and then decide how to measure success. For example, changing an L&D program will have a different metric than implementing new software.
Completing a strategic shift can take years and is as complicated as it gets, so breaking the objective down into more measurable steps is the best way to go. For major changes, each part of an organization will have different KPIs. Setting benchmarks for the various operational functions and then making ‘before’ and ‘after’ assessments, even if they are dynamic, will provide important data that will confirm if the changes are effective or not.
The more extensive the change, the greater the number of stakeholders. Yet each needs to be informed of the move and asked how it will affect them. This part of a change management process can reveal that vital parts of the puzzle might need more time for preparation. For example, if a proposed change requires employees to upskill, it will affect the timeline.
Make a Plan
Once stakeholders are aligned in terms of expectations and skills, the next step is to create a roadmap in the form of a detailed document, which includes:
- Personnel duties and commitments
- Technical and other resource requirements
- Breakdown of actions per organizational entity, for instance, the steps that the IT department needs to take to implement their part of the plan, as well as measurable goals for these steps
- Schedule according to the above breakdown, including regular feedback sessions and all-hands meetings to determine if major revisions are needed
- Backup resources to ensure operational continuity
Implement, Review, and Revise
Using the roadmap, leaders now initiate their part of the plan. Regular reviews are crucial to share advice, ask for help, and to prevent straying too far from the course. Employees will often develop insights during this phase, and they should be incorporated into the current change management process as well as future efforts–so plans should be flexible and revised accordingly.
Change Management Process Tools
There are a variety of tools that can be used during a change management process.
Software – Packages like Jira, Monday.com, and Wrike coordinate teams across an organization to check that tasks are completed according to a roadmap.
Knowledge bases – Document collections can be essential to ensure that teams and individuals understand their role and how it fits into the big picture.
L&D platforms – Critical thinking, problem-solving, time management, and communication are just a few of the important soft skills behind a change management process; learning platforms are important for teaching and reinforcing these skills.
GrowthSpace: Empowering a Successful Change Management Process
The skills required for a comprehensive change management process must be nurtured at all levels, and that often means an intensive reskilling/upskilling effort. Let GrowthSpace’s talent development solution guide you by ensuring that your L&D initiatives are powered by the most relevant and reputable coaches, trainers, and mentors, for each and every employee.