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What Is Change Management?

Are you sick and tired of change? Feel like you’re suffering from change fatigue?

Well, change can be very difficult, and at the moment it feels like every five minutes it’s right in our faces.

Work from home, go back to the office. Social distance. Wear a mask. Stay safe. Get back to normal. We’re starting to sound like a Boris Johnson speech here.

But the fact is this: whilst we’re all fed up with change, at the end of the day it’s our friend for life. It can be really complicated if you don’t simplify it – so let’s tackle it head-on together. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to manage change – the Zest way!

What Does Change Management Mean?

We get asked this all the time: “What is change management?”

In a nutshell, a change management process is basically a strategy for how your business approaches and deals with change. This means any changes, small or large – be it introducing a jazzy new process or completely overhauling your company’s goals.

Why Do I Need Change Management?

We’ve already identified that change can be hard. Well, by making use of change management you can make it easier for you, your business and your team to embrace whatever new thing it is you’re trying to implement.

At the end of the day, getting your team on board is crucial if the changes you’re trying to implement are going to stick. By using change management, you can focus on how to engage your team to adopt changes in their stride.

So, to put it simply:

Your business without change management = stuck in one spot

Your business with change management = striding forward at pace!

Different Types Of Organisational Change

There are loads of things that are always moving and shifting in business. We’ve picked out the top four types of organisational change that our clients come to us for help with.

1. Organisation-wide Changes

This is probably one of the most dramatic of our four examples. As the name suggests – organisation-wide change is a large-scale transformation that impacts the overall structure of the company. A common example is when a business changes hands or merges with a larger company. This type of change will have a massive impact on your team members, and if it’s not managed properly, will be really disruptive.

2. Transformational Changes

As a business, it’s important to keep your ear to the ground to make sure your strategies and procedures are up to scratch. This includes keeping up with the latest technologies, as well as staying on top of cultural and social trends.

The world of technology seems to be racing forward all the time, so having a swift procedure in place to keep up with (and stay ahead of!) your competitors is the way to stay with it.

3. Personnel Changes

Personnel changes are probably one of the most common changes a business faces. But mass hirings (and, unfortunately, firings) bring with them a shift in company cultures.

If a business finds itself to be quickly expanding, your new employees will have to be onboarded and get comfy in their new roles. Some of the roles might not have even existed in your business before! A badly managed influx of new team members can lead to chaos, no matter how great your employees are.

Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t avoid losing staff members. But whatever your reasons, a large number of redundancies can understandably have a knock-on effect on the morale of those who remain. Managing these changes properly can help alleviate a pretty difficult situation.

4. Unplanned Change

Now, doesn’t this one feel familiar! No matter how organised you are, unplanned changes, both big and small, can come around all the time (say, a worldwide pandemic, for example).

Unplanned change is the perfect example as to why it’s important to have change management techniques in place BEFORE it comes along and bops you on the nose.

Even if you haven’t had time to prepare for something changing in your business if you’ve got a structure in place you can still implement it smoothly.

How To Implement Change In Your Business

Now you know what changes your business can face, you might be wondering: how do you manage change? Well, it’s time to think about your change management strategy.

There are loads of change management models out there, but here at Zest we think simple is the answer. Let’s not boil the ocean, instead, we’ll break it down into three stages.

Stage 1: Prepare

It’s that good old saying: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. When you’re pulling together your change management plan, try to answer the following questions:

- Why are we doing this?

- Who will this impact?

- What does good look like?

By answering those three questions, your change management strategy is off to a great start. Already you’ve got a clear justification of why you’re doing what you’re doing, a list of people you need to bring onside and clear goals you want to achieve.

Stage 2: Manage

As you’re implementing your new changes, make sure you’re supporting and engaging that list of people who are going to be impacted.

Be sure to stop and take stock every once in a while to ask yourself, “How are we doing? Do we need to adjust anything?”.

Stay flexible, it’s impossible to predict how your team is going to be affected. This means that checking in regularly will be your key to success.

Stage 3: Review

Don’t step back too early. Change can take a while to stick, so don’t make the mistake of thinking your implementations are a success because they’ve been adopted quickly.

You should keep a close eye on reviewing performance and check in regularly to ensure consistency.

Now, we know you’re a busy bee, so managing this review stage doesn’t have to stay solely on your shoulders. Transfer ownership to a senior manager and make it their responsibility to continue your hard work.

Whew, there you have it. How are you feeling about change now?

Don’t get us wrong, it’s a tricky topic and can be a tough one to wrap your head around, but change happens every day, so it has to be on your business’s priority list.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’re here to help!

At Zest, we offer a full change management service. Whether you have a massive change upcoming you want help with, or you just want to ensure you’re prepared for the future, we’d love to support you through it.

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