As businesses and organizations work to be front runners in their respective industries and remain ahead of their competitors, there is an inevitable need for change; Change in business culture, business strategy, and business processes are critical to the positive growth and evolution of a company. Success in this endeavor relies upon the regular use of proper change management to improve focused elements such as process throughput efficiency and system performance effectiveness, in addition to improvement of more broad scale elements inclusive of organizational effectiveness; all having the goal of improving overall performance. Whether it is for a departmental based process or for an overall organization, change can provide an avenue for great opportunity; however, it can also be a source of stress resulting in hesitation (or even outright refusal) to embrace the necessary changes. The proper change management platform is key to assuring changes are made efficiently and effectively. Without it, the efforts of those leading the change can often fall short of the intended objective, which can result in a negative monetary impact as well as a loss in credibility. Creating the proper platform in managing change consists of the following elements, which will be described in more detail below:
- Development of a defined “Management of Change” process
- Creating a positive change implementation environment
The Management of Change Process:
The Change Management (or Management of Change) process provides a mechanism for requesting, determining attainability of, planning for, implementing, and evaluating changes to key operational aspects whether they are focused or broad scale. A defined Management of Change process is essential through the proper documentation, approval, control and effective implementation of change. Changes managed in this manner provide versatility in their application allowing success to be realized in more localized areas of processes, systems, procedures, material, technology, and equipment, in addition to more broad scale areas of departments, organizations, and personnel.
A defined Management of Change process should provide for proper change execution while maintaining the dual goals of supporting the change process along with enabling traceability of the desired changes. The Management of Change process should provide for proper planning of change execution inclusive of defining the elements affected by the change, reason for change, end-goal of the change, approvals required for change execution, path of change execution, and effectiveness monitoring of the change after implementation. Changes that are properly managed provide realization of success and work to assure growth and forward progress.
Creating a Positive Environment for Change:
The key to successful management of change is not only defining the governing process for managing changes but to also foster a positive environment where change is embraced rather than feared. Changes that do not address the human factor can often fail, resulting in ill effects to growth and progress. In successfully managing the implementation of change one must address the real world human elements such as buy-in, acceptance, motivation, anticipation, fear, and uncertainty.
While it is often necessary to organizational improvement and assuring company growth and sustainability, change will not be embraced by everyone. However, rather than eliminating the human factor, one must properly manage the human factor through fostering a positive environment for change. While changes should be made efficiently and decisively for the overall improvement of the business, they should not be made in a vacuum. Affected personnel should be involved in the controlled implementation of change through the use of change management teams where appropriate. When people understand the reason for the change and can serve in a team capacity in effecting the change, they are more likely to embrace change. Successful management of change execution and implementation can be better realized through cultivating a positive environment of readiness rather than a negative one of resistance.
No matter the size or industry focus of the business, change is an inevitable factor in forward growth and progress. Through use of a defined mechanism for change management combined with fostering a positive environment for change, success can be realized when implementing the changes necessary for process and system improvement, and overall business growth and sustainability.
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