Change management is not something you do, it is something that IS! It is happening each moment of each day in all workplaces. Of course there are tasks and methods to learn that can help, but every work place in the world is already managing their change either effectively or not.
Consider the following questions:
•Do you have employees?
•Do you produce products?
•Do you need to hire and retain employees?
•Do you have projects?
•Do you have safety standards?
•Are you implementing software?
•Do you have to meet quality standards?
•Do you ship product?
If the answer is yes to any of the above questions (or countless others that are not asked) then you are in the process of managing change in your workplace.
The question then becomes how are you doing in each of these categories? Are the projects successful? Are you fully staffed? Are your products created with a high quality standard? Can you hire employees when you need them? When you turn on the software system does the business function just as effectively as prior to turning it on, or even better? Are you achieving on time delivery over 98% of the time?
If the answer is no to any of the above, then your current change strategy, be it explicate or not, is clearly not working.
Change management is not about checking a box. Rather it is an ongoing reality of your business. Adding a few tasks won’t change the fundamentals within your organization that are causing the problems. The question is how to manage more effectively the issues that are causing the pain. Perhaps you avoid thinking about them at all or ignore problems by being so compartmentalized that you cannot tell any correlation between cause and effect? Perhaps you think dissenters are a problem and do not allow issues to really surface and be dealt with? Perhaps you have killed advocacy within your organization by not listening to the problems for years? Or maybe you are stuck in a cycle of trying to find the cheapest and fastest way to do things. Trying to do things cheaper and faster is noble yet it often has unintended consequences. Such strategies can produce outcomes such as poor performing machines, poorly implemented projects, quality and delivery problems, staffing so low that one person out cause’s machines to be shut off, and ultimately upset customers.
Every strategy and method you use to try and be successful IS how you are managing change. The answer to how well you manage change can only be seen in your business metrics. If they are world class, then you should celebrate. If they are terrible, then you’ve got some work to do!
By Chris Crosby