Change Management

Train switch crossroad

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Change is here to stay. You can't run away from it; you can't make it go away. You can't return to the good old days. You can't continue to do your job as you have always done it. You live in a work world with customers who are increasingly demanding. Technology is changing every aspect of work. 

Doing more with less requires redefining staff roles and responsibilities, changing processes and systems, and refining service to customers. The need for employees to make decisions and act quickly within the parameters of their jobs increases as customer demands and needs for a flexible workplace increase.

In this fast-changing environment, change management skills are paramount if you wish to succeed. No matter your job, you must learn to manage change. Taking charge of change causes you to foresee and plan for your next experiences. It is far more powerful and proactive than allowing every passing wind to buffet your work life and outlook. Whether the change is in your personal life and will spill over into your workday or the change is associated with work, your skills in change management will help you navigate the journey.

Tools, Skills, and Best Practices

Change management is the process of helping individuals and your organization transition from the current state to the desired state. It involves tools, skills, and best practices in areas that include:

The goals of any change management process include reducing the distraction that the organization experiences while it moves from the current state to the desired state.

Distractions include employees over-reacting and resisting change, changing daily priorities, changing company direction or vision that affects the goals and strategies of employees, and spending planning time on lower priority items.

A change management process can be organization-wide and involve every employee, or it can be more narrowly focused on a department, a workgroup, or an individual. The more people who are involved, the more time, energy, and commitment are needed.

Types of Change to Manage

Changes to manage are infinite. Some are whole organization change initiatives. Others are closer to home: departmental changes and personnel changes. As a consequence, you may be experiencing the need to manage change in areas such as these.

  • Your organization is changing its mission or vision based on markets that are changing, consolidating your product lines, and a new vision from new executive leadership. 
  • Changing customer needs, requirements, and expectations based on available competitor products and approaches. The market never stands still, and your organization must adapt or die.
  • Changing employee needs based on generational differences, new employment laws, competitor best practices, and changing employee needs and expectations from work.
  • Your department head was replaced by a new boss, and his priorities are different than those of the former boss.
  • You've been promoted and must learn a whole new job. It includes new customers, coworkers, and new ways of conducting business.
  • The person who shares your office has moved to another department, and you have a new roommate to get to know. It is a serious change as it involves every moment of your work life.
  • Your child care provider is moving out of state. You will invest hours in getting recommendations, interviewing candidates and schools, and selecting the best option for your children.
  • Your children's school moves to a year-round schedule necessitating changes every few months in their schedule - and yours.

Notice that the range of changes affecting you is wide. All of them require that you know how to manage change effectively even if you don't immediately regard changes as something you must manage.

You can learn and practice effective change management techniques. You will enhance your career and magnify your contribution to your organization. These tips and techniques show you how. See what affects your ability to navigate change successfully.