By: Marigrace McKay on October 19th, 2017

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Common Problems With Doing Change Management In-House

Business Management & Strategy

What is Change Management?

Change management is the process of transitioning or transforming an organization. It is a management science that specializes in people behavior and organization design for the purpose of repositioning a company for product, financial, market, and competitive advantages. And repositioning a company for product, financial, market, or competitive advantage is very important work!

How to Avoid Problems with Leading Change Management Processes In-House

The biggest mistake I see is when conducted in-house and not by a change management professional is utilizing a one-size-fits-all change management methodology. A common miss is thinking about how change must be different for the various levels of the organization. For example, each job level should be addressed with a unique approach that is most fitting for them. Individual change management would include:

  • The executive team needs to understand and adopt their role in change management.
  • Mid-level management will need to generate the levers of new change and sustainability measures.
  • And at the general employee-at-large level, change would entail engaging and internalizing the new direction/decision.

You have to meet them at their level and help them understand how their role fits in with the change. A change management consultant or professional should be able to pull out their toolkit that contains creativity, flexibility, language, change management models, diagnostics and other tools to make the change management initiative successful on all levels. 

Change Management Examples

Leaders are sometimes surprised when they ask my advice for approaching organizational change management programs. Here's what I always say:

If there is not a defined business case – an analyzed, documented need for something to change, DO NOTHING

Stay in the threat or concept exploration phase until the problem/opportunity is clear. Loud chatter and frenzy for ‘change now’ is a warning sign that more clarity is needed in the strategic direction. When the path forward is crystallized, many forward efforts will fall in line. 

Let me give you an example of what I mean by that...

A client of mine called because they had a "bad employee morale problem" according to the managers. The bad morale was largely reflected in employee turnover - over 60% (yikes!).  So before jumping to a massive change, we got in there and did some digging to identify what was actually driving the problem.

And guess what? After doing further review and analysis, we discovered that 78% of the workforce wasn't getting the necessary training. Employees wanted to do their jobs well, but lacked the company training needed to do so. In truth, bad morale and turnover were symptoms of a demoralized workforce. 

Once we understood the root problem, we designed and implemented a training catch-up program over a 10-month period of time. It resulted in 100% trained workforce, 50% reduction in turnover, and $M year-end productivity. 

To see employees giving high-fives to each other in the parking lot was all the gratification this change management consultant needed!

Organizations make decisions that invoke changes in directions. People don't change, they grow. And, they resist being forced to change.

When behavioral change (people actions) are required, look first to re-align the organizational framework: the constructs, policies, and processes needed to shape the desired results.

Involving employees in the re-shaping of their and the company's future is essential.  A deliberate, defined change management process of analyzing the organizational elements will bring about sustainable transition.

Starting a new change management strategy is a big, important initiative for an organization. Before tackling a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to change management, consider reaching out to experts who will help you get a holistic view of your company, and then will employ various tools and analyses to identify clarity and get you on the path of your desired end results. Change management consultants like myself are programmed to mine the solutions that bring meaningful improvements (change) to client organizations.