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Don’t Fear Change: How Change Management Eases the Impact of Any Pivot


Creating a change management strategy ensures that team members understand the company's upcoming pivots and why they are necessary for success.

Every company must eventually embrace change. Some changes are slight and subtle, while others are extreme and drastic. Good leaders prepare their teams for every change through a leadership process known as change management. This process might look different for every organization, but as Harvard Business School explains, change management typically encompasses five steps: 


  1. Preparation

  2. Planning/visualizing

  3. Implementation

  4. Embedding

  5. Analysis


Table of Contents:

What is Change Management?

The Change Management Process Begins with Preparation

  • Effective Change Management Communication 

Planning Helps Leaders Map Out Processes and Details

  • What is Agile Methodology?

  • About Waterfall Methodology

  • Using a Gantt Chart to Guide New Changes 

  • What is the Kanban Organization?

Implementing the Change

Embedding the Change

Analyzing the Effectiveness and Success of the Change

Customer Success Manager: Leading Change Management for the Client 

FAQ


Key Takeaways:

Change management is the process of helping team members prepare for a change within a business or organization. Effective change management is crucial for the full adoption of the change and its successful integration into the processes and culture of the organization.


What is Change Management? 

Change management is quite basic. The term refers to how an organization manages change. Preparing for small and big company-wide changes requires leaders to communicate effectively with their entire team. For change to be positive and successful, everyone must be on board.


While the stages or steps in change management remain the same, the implementation of each stage integrates solutions unique to each organization. What works for one business might not be successful for another. 


The Change Management Process Begins with Preparation

Step 1 in the change management process focuses on preparing the team for the change. This step emphasizes transparency and clear communication. Employees need to know that this change is in the future, how it impacts them, and why it is necessary and important.


Effective Change Management Communication 

Some changes could be a team restructuring. The announcement would involve open dialogue about how the reorganization improves efficiency and creates a better dynamic. Many companies hold a meeting to discuss the new strategy and change.


If the change involves a new software or other tech shift, handouts or other data improves an employee’s understanding. Make it very clear to the team that managers and company leaders will provide more insight about the plans in the near future.


The preparation phase of change management requires effective communication. Create a communication plan focused on transparency and encourage feedback from the team.

Planning Helps Leaders Map Out Processes and Details

The company knows it needs to make changes and streamline processes. How will that work? The planning stage focuses on developing strategies and steps to integrate the change successfully. 


For internal process changes, utilizing a project management system like Asana, Monday, ClickUp, and Trello guides team members through the new process. These platforms provide unique project layouts and methodologies that help every team member visualize every project and its corresponding tasks.


These platforms help simplify change management by allowing the team to view the processes for the change. 


What is Agile Methodology?

Asana explains that this type of organization divides projects into steps or tasks. These steps can be assigned to a member of a team, ensuring that everyone knows their role. 


This type of project organization is ideal when planning a change that reorganizes processes. Assigning steps and tasks helps everyone understand their responsibilities and simplifies workflow. 


About the Waterfall Methodology

This type of organizational methodology is like a flight of stairs (or a waterfall), outlining the flow of tasks as they move to different owners. This organization is best for organizing larger projects, as managers move the task from a brainstorming meeting, to a creative designer, and on through the final completion. 


Using a Gantt Chart to Guide New Changes 

Gantt charts look a bit like digital sticky notes. These charts include vertical rows of tasks, organized by square blocks that include task details. For example, the top box might indicate a brainstorming session and supporting boxes below would indicate ideas or next steps.


Another vertical row would be next to brainstorming. The top box might include “sales strategies,” with more supporting details below.  


What is the Kanban Organization?

Kanban is another layout for organizing projects and tasks as part of change management strategies. Kanban is Japanese, which translates to “signboard.” Projects organized using the Kanban layout are showcased like notecards; each Kanban board includes the main project with all the supporting elements or tasks below it. Every project includes its board. 


Implementing the Change

This is the point where team members see the change in action. Platforms like Asana also can be utilized to implement change smoothly. Again, these platforms show projects and all the tasks within each project.


If the change is more drastic like a team restructuring, implementation is the time the new team becomes a reality. Team members should have received proper communication and insight about the change. In addition, their new team and responsibilities may be outlined via internal communications.


Leaders also can help soften more drastic changes by scheduling regular meetings with the team. Ask about challenges they face, and always provide positive and engaging feedback.


Embedding the Change

After implementation, the change is embedded into the normal routine or workflow. This must be seamless; otherwise, as Harvard explains, regression may occur. Full team buy-in and adoption of the change are crucial to its success. 


Remember that leaders and managers must adhere to the changes, too. Managers cannot revert to those old spreadsheets if the company has moved from a basic spreadsheet for task tracking to a more robust and professional system. 


Analyzing the Effectiveness and Success of the Change

Not all changes succeed. Even with proper change management strategies, the company and its leaders sometimes discover that the old way was better. However, companies and organizations must exert patience before dropping a new process or procedure.


Regularly evaluate the success of a new system or protocol. Careful analysis helps leaders identify effective changes and weed out destructive changes. 


Customer Success Manager: Leading Change Management for the Client 

A new team leadership grew out of communication necessity for many organizations and businesses. The title of Customer Success Manager confers the responsibilities of relationship-building and ongoing communication with clients and customers.


Customer Success Managers (CSMs) serve a crucial role within the organization. When major changes disrupt the status quo, the CSM prepares the client and walks them through new processes and procedures. 


Poor navigation of changes can throttle a customer relationship, leaving them disoriented and perhaps even distrustful. CSMs must feel empowered to communicate all ongoing and future changes with clients and ease them into these transitions. 


FAQ:

What is the purpose of change management?

This process helps leaders and business owners prepare and effectively communicate organizational changes to their employees and clients/customers.


What are the five key elements of change management?

The five steps to effective change management are preparing, planning, implementing, embedding, and analysis. 


What are the three pillars of change management?

Depending on the expert, the pillars of change management vary. Some consider people, processes, and technology to be the three pillars. Others focus on more abstract pillars.

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