What is change management?

Change Management is defined as the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business outcome. 


Basically this means making certain that the changes you are implementing achieve the required result by ensuring you and your team are fully engaged with the process, and receive the necessary information, training and support required to implement the changes successfully.

Change can be enormously difficult, especially when processes have been in place for a long period of time.  In fact it can often be harder for Managers and senior team members to accept changes than for their teams.  The plan you put in place to help individuals make successful personal transitions to the change is key to your success.

What are the key components of change management?

Exhaustion can set in when people feel they are being required to make too many changes at once, which can result in resistance.  With proper planning and engagement you can safeguard your project and maximise your success.

  • Culture - Current culture, whether positive or resistant to change is going to affect your outcome - Managers conscious of the current culture, who tap into the way people already think so they can use it - will have far greater success than those trying to drive change whilst ignoring the culture.

  • Start at the top - engaging your team is important - but if the people at the top are not fully behind the project - it's chances of success are reduced enormously - very few projects achieve success 'in spite of' the senior management.

  • Involve everyone - Managers often fail to take into account frontline or midlevel staff believing planning without their input will save time - engaging them in the process early, may add a little more time to the planning, but incorporating them and their knowledge can build enthusiasm for the change and add a perspective you haven't considered making the likelihood of success far greater.

  • Change your behaviours early and engage, engage, engage – don't wait for the project to be implemented to change how you manage.  Visibly make changes to your own behaviour at a Senior Management level early, spend time engaging with your team and drive the change in both culture and process from the top.

  • Involve other team leads – In larger teams, ensure managers not directly involved in the project are also included so they can champion your project and changes.

  • Support your solutions – your planned solutions will fail to persuade teams to change their behaviours if your operating structure, rewards, training, development etc are not in place to properly support the change.

  • Assess and adapt - don't be rigid, assess your changes, if they need a tweak, be open to making it happen.  It is not only your team who need to adapt, to truly safeguard your project you need to be flexible enough to adapt your thinking and behaviours as well.

The key to change is a positive and inclusive approach - taking the approach of trying to force change through may come back to haunt you later.

Change management stages

There are many different models for change management, most run the same stages:

  • Readiness Assessments - Assessing who will be affected, whether there other change going on which could impact engagement, any possible resistance.

  • Communication planning - who is the audience, what is communicated and how.

  • Sponsor activities - supporting the project sponsor to actively and visibly participate in the change

  • Manager Training – training and engagement for Management so that can be a positive and supporting addition to the team.

  • Training and Development– training development and delivery must be carefully planned to ensure team receive the correct information at the right time to be able to move forward effectively.

  • Resistance Management – resistance is a normal part of change and managing it effectively and positively is key to your success.

  • Feedback, analysis and corrective action - change is not a one way street, employee involvement is integral to success and feedback is key to successful implementation.

  • Recognising success - celebrating your teams successes helps to cement changes and stop teams slipping back to their old ways.

  • Post project review - take a step back and review successes and failures of the project to identify any changes you'd like to make for management of your next project.

This is scalable - it is affected by the size of the teams, key stakeholders and the size of the project being implemented.