Change Management Introduction to Change

Posted by Mark on Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Defining Change Management

Change Management is the process of managing the people side of change. Projects can delivery on time on budget yet still fail due to poor user adoption of the change. A focus on managing people through change helps achieve the goal and objectives of the project causing the change.

Poorly executed change reduces employee and organisation capacity for future change. Poor change management can lead to poor engaged staff, low moral, staff turnover and poor organisation performance.

Change Management is not Project Management, Project Managers are responsible for project delivery, time and budget. Change Managers are responsible for ensuring the best adoption rate of the project outcomes within impacted staff and stakeholders. In essence Change Managers help ensure benefit realisation by helping people transition to a new state.

Change Management is a also a risk mitigation, it reduces the risk the new process, system or other change will be rejected by the organisation.

Change Stages

Current State

Where we are right now, the current systems, processes, roles, responsibilities. How things are at the point the change project is initiated.

Transition State

Where the rubber meets the road for Change Managers, the adoption and change management activities focus here to ensure we achieve Future State.

Future State

When the benefits are realised, we have achieved the future state. Future State is the outcome desired at the outset of the project.

Common Models applied to Change

As a Change Manager there are a number of models commonly referred to to help understand the process of change affecting people.

3 Phase Model - Kurt Lewin

  • Unfreeze: unlock the current state.
  • Changing: Accept, adjust and transition to future state
  • Freezing: lock in the new state, make this the business as usual state

Grief Cycle - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The Kubler-Ross grief cycle also known as the Change Curve shows distinct phases a person goes through with change over a period of time. Originally designed to assist medical students work with terminal patients, it was later extended to model change generally.

William Bridges

Bridges defines 3 phases - Endings: where people start to let go of the old (current) state - Neutral-zone: where innovation starts but productivity reduces - New Beginnings: where people accept the new way of doing things

  • Stability (the stage before the change is encountered)
  • Immobilisation
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Testing
  • Acceptance

Change Management Basics

Adoption has to be a measure of project success. Don’t close down projects too quickly!

Apply Lean Change Management thinking to have a feedback driven Change Strategy