In this month’s Knowledge Economy Zambia, we take a look at Change Management. Change Management has become a “buzz” term. The definition of what the terms means, however, will vary dependent on the audience being addressed.
In the world of Project Management and IT Service Delivery, change management is about the delivery of structural or technical changes – this may be to update existing systems, or, to introduce new products or services.
Amongst the executive and senior management teams, and in particular for the strategic HR Business Partner, change management is part and parcel of organisation development – “an effort, planned, organisation-wide, and managed from the top, to increase an organisation’s effectiveness and health through planned interventions … using behavioural science knowledge.” Thus, ‘organisational’ change management is more about managing the human behaviours exhibited in response to change.
Technical changes are, to a large degree, fairly straightforward to manage as a process. The structural change management process can easily be mapped and implemented organisation-wide. A best-practice oriented change management process is depicted in Fig 1. Typically, a dedicated resource or function is assigned to act as ‘Change Manager’. Broadly speaking, this Change Manager requires analytical, problem-solving, planning, organisational and decision-making competencies to review, assess, authorise and schedule changes.
The varying types of change management converge when systems such as enterprise resource management platforms, such as SAP (Systems
Analysis and Program Development) are selected as a mechanism for integrated information management organisation-wide.When new systems are being introduced that cut across the organisation, there is a challenge in transitioning from the ‘accepted ways of working’ to new and different ways of working because, as the adage goes, “old habits die hard”.
The longer individuals remain with an organisation,the more they become accustomed to their set ways of working so when a change is introduced that is likely to compromise this and eat into the ‘comfort zone’, then, there is a tendency for ‘push back’.In the case of enterprise resource management system implementation, push back can come from aba chikulile / the veterans who prefer the sturdy dependability of manual processes such as inkbased face-to-face LPO signatory approval to the complexity of electronic approvals and Segregation of Duties (à la SAP).
In order to avoid push back, it’s important to :
(i) raise Awareness of the forthcoming change at the earliest possible opportunity, through informal announcements, mailings and posters
(ii). build Desire for the change by engaging Sponsors and Champions to sell the change across the organisation (Champions should be wellrespected and capable of influencing and advising on ‘What’s-in-It’ for the individuals across the organisation; it’s all the better if you can get
‘sceptical’ veterans on board to promote the cause and win over ‘hearts and minds’)
(iii). develop Knowledge within the organisation through steering groups and training/learning interventions.
(iv). encourage the development of Abilities through observed and monitored practical application and coaching
(v). Reinforce the benefits derived from the change by sharing successes and recognising the tangible outputs delivered
Steps i-v (ADKAR) are essential elements of the Prosci best-practice change framework.Organisational change management is very much about communicating, being open and sharing information, and, involving people. This entails ensuring that there is a correcting feedback loop to address any concerns and foster collaboration and consensus.
Ultimately, ensure that everyone who is affected by the change feels that they are integral to the change process and are not being swept away or
side-lined by the change.
Learning Specialise at TopFloor. Mwelwa has widespread consulting
experience of managing and implementing organisational, technical
and structural changes for various multinational organisations
email@example.com|Knowledge Economy Zambia | Issue Five, May 2012