Blog / Clarifying Change Management For Businesses (Pt. 1)
As many have noted over the years, change is inevitable. That doesn’t mean it’s good or bad, just that there’s not a lot we can do to stop it. So rather than resisting change, many businesses embrace it. Oftentimes change can bring about more efficient processes, improved customer service, higher satisfaction, and ultimately better overall business operations. Unfortunately, change can also be disruptive and even damaging if not handled properly. Regardless of whether you’re adapting to a global pandemic or just swapping out accounting software, the secret to making sure change is worthwhile is change management.
But what exactly is it? There are differing definitions, but the core concept can be summed up as all the approaches to preparing and supporting both individuals and teams throughout various events that result in change. This refers to the different processes, tools, and techniques that are used to ensure changes proceeds smoothly and can overcome resistance. Managed change results in positive outcomes by handling change in an organized manner. Unmanaged change leads to work disruptions, miscommunication, and general chaos. This leads to overall dissatisfaction and an underlying attitude that the “change project” was a failure. To be effective, change needs to be embraced.
Change Management vs. OCM
Before we go further, we should clarify that there is technically a difference between “plain” change management and organizational change management (OCM). Although change management is largely based on OCM principles, it only refers to the people, tools, and processes within the organization, and how they are impacted by changes. OCM, on the other hand, is much broader and focuses on organizational initiatives and wider structural transformations. However, because they are so similar and one is based on the other, change management has essentially becoming synonymous with OCM. Thus, we’ll refer to OCM as just change management, but will note differences between distinguishing characteristics when they’re relevant.
Different Ways to Change
There are three different types of change management characterized by the scope of the changes.
- Adaptive—This refers to incremental changes that are usually confined to individual tasks and business processes. Adaptive change management is all about analyzing and refining your existing processes to make them faster, more efficient, and more accurate. A simple example might be implementing a new staff overtime procedure using a new form or software application.
- Transformational—OCM in its broadest form, transformational change encompasses your entire organization and culture from structure to strategy to execution. As the name implies, it literally transforms your organization. Implementing Digital Transformation using a corporate-wide deployment of Microsoft Teams would be an example of transformational change (and powerful management tools and plans are required).
- Hybrid—Hybrid change management is by far the most common and is a blend between the two approaches. It recognizes how many small changes can add up over time to transform the entire organization. Rebranding is good example of a hybrid approach to change; there are plenty of changes affecting staff and customers and maybe a new marketing distribution system, but other internal processes remain unchanged.
Change management is a large and complex topic, so we’ll let these basic concepts sink in. Please remember that change management’s fuzzy definition(s) mean it’s a process and a skill. In other words, it can be viewed as both a skill set and a set of ever-changing targets at the same time. We’ll be back in two weeks to focus on when you should be using change management tactics and what its best practices are, but don’t let that stop you from taking the first steps now! If you’re organization is looking for help with an upgrade, contact TRINUS and we’ll be happy to consult on how best to manage major technology changes in your organization.
The TRINUS Team