Pre-Requisites for Successful Change Management

Change Management in an organization aims at realizing the strategic goals and improving an organization’s preparedness for meeting both internal as well as external challenges, which may influence business growth and profitability. To remain on top, today companies have to undergo through progressive transformation and evolve as per the changing business environment.

Effective Change Management involves a comprehensive and an integrated effort from all the levels of the management. Successful change management involves consideration of several factors, which have been described below:

Effective Planning: This is critical for ensuring successful change to happen. This stage essentially involves definition and documentation of objectives to be attained from change management and also the strategies for realizing those objectives. It aims at addressing the vital questions of who, what, why, when, where and how involved in the implementation of any change management programme. It takes into context the current situation and equally assesses the impact of change initiatives on the futuristic strategies of the organization, the people involved in it as well as the stakeholders connected with it.

Effective Planning should consider the below factors:

  • Clear definition of objectives of change management and alignment of objectives with the organizational vision/mission/strategies. If the vision is not defined properly or shared, seeking the involvement of all the stakeholders in the process of change may be difficult. Lack of vision and direction, may result in misaligned approach, incompatible outcomes and may dissolve the long term benefits of change initiatives.

  • Documentation of the objectives, defining the road map or the development of the change plan for implementing change management successfully. Documentation of the change management objectives, provides a strategic direction and justifies the rationale of a change initiatives along with the resources required for it to happen. It provides a bigger picture regarding the magnitude and complexities involved in the entire process of change management.

    Documentation should justify the following points:

    1. Why a change initiative is required and the factors/drivers establishing a need for change management.

    2. What could be the possible outcomes of the change initiatives, and

    3. How a change management effort may affect the key stakeholders, people, processes and the organization as a whole.

    Change Plan must cover the following areas:

    1. The change plan should elaborate the key objectives which are aimed at.

    2. Highlight the strategic alternatives, direction, organizational restructuring, changes in the existing processes & people management practices to ensure successful change.

    3. Plans for implementing the change, provide a description on how the change would be communicated to the people or the stakeholders who are connected with it.

    4. Highlight the resources involved or the timelines within which the results are supposed to be achieved.

    5. The changes in the HR policies and principles which may be applied particularly in relation with the staffing issues for realizing the objectives of change management.

    6. Clear definition of the key performance indicators for reviewing the outcomes of change management and its success in meeting the objectives.

Definition of the Governance Structure/Framework for effective Change Management: In the absence of a well-defined governance framework, the success of change management efforts may fizzle away. For a successful change to happen, the organizational structure, roles & responsibilities should be established and defined clearly to monitor the progress of change periodically and implement corrective actions for seamless transformation. The following change governance structure model can be used:

  • Steering Committee: It is the apex body responsible for ensuring the success of change management. The members of the steering committee are responsible for planning and implementing strategies, providing direction and leadership for change management and ensure that the objectives of change management remain in alignment with the organizational vision/goals.

  • Change Sponsor: The change sponsor is the key person responsible who is directly responsible and accountable for the change. This may be a senior level representative who may have the responsibility of managing the resources involved in the change management process and may exercise control over the expenditure incurred in the entire process. The Change sponsor is involved in the end to end process, is directly accountable for gathering the support and commitment of the business leaders in particular, minimizes the resistance or barriers to change management and addresses the risks associated by taking radicle measures. A change sponsor is usually someone who enjoys greater authority, is empowered and experienced in implementing vital decisions for handling the complexities in change management.

  • Change Agent: A change agent is responsible for coordinating the day to day activities and provides the needed support as well as expertise for ensuring the success of a change initiative. Change teams are the facilitators involved in extensive coordination between the various functionalities, establishes the operational framework and ensures adherence with the regulations involved in the entire process.

  • Work Streams/Groups: This involves the task forces/groups directly responsible for the realization of the specific objectives of change management. The task forces or specialized groups within the organizations work upon the specific projects and are directly accountable for completion of the assigned responsibilities within the predefined timelines and resources.

Commitment of the Leadership: Leaders build the conducive organizational culture and climate for the realization of the objectives of change management. Their commitment and involvement is critical for the success of change efforts. Leaders who are transformational, visionaries and lead by example can foster an environment of cooperation and collaboration across all the levels of the organization.

Stakeholders Awareness and Involvement: Stakeholders involvement and participation in the entire process is critical for the success of change management. The organizations should engage the stakeholders by facilitating an environment of collaboration and communicate the objectives as well as its outcomes.

Workforce Alignment: This should essentially involve an assessment of the impact of change management process on the people and establishing plans for obtaining the support of the people in the entire process by building collaborative synergies and highlighting the beneficial outcomes.

Change Management: Success Stories as well as Failures (Organizational Case Studies)

  1. Success Stories (Pearson): In 2012, John Fallon the new CEO of the organization announced a new game plan “Global Education Strategy” for realizing the bigger objectives of business. Apart from this, he championed organizational restructuring leading to the formation of 6 different units of workforce. The company went big by not only changing the strategies but also by implementing organizational restructuring to support the entire plan. The communication was established in a top down manner-Intranet was considered as the medium for communicating the objectives of change and also the expectations involved in it. For realizing the strategic intent of change management, the new CEO relied heavily on new technology (intranet) for aggressive internal marketing of change initiatives and the benefits associated with it.

  2. Failure Stories (Walmart): The giant retail player followed the strategy of Low Pricing few years ago and enjoyed a prominence in the market due to its low pricing strategy for across various categories of products. Few years later, they introduced a change in the strategy for attracting niche customer segments who could afford higher priced products and up-scaled their items. Due to a change in the strategy, Walmart lost its business profitability since it could neither attract the higher end customers through its products and the regular customers started looking for better bargains from the competitors.


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Change Management