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Major Themes in Change Management

Written by Andy Trainer – Mon 27 Jan 2014

Change management is the most significant leadership challenge of this decade. We are operating in an environment of fast paced change frequently driven by technological innovation. The scale of the change is far reaching often because business processes and system usage are so inter-dependent that a change in one can affect many others across different departments and functions.

For this reason effective change management requires matrix management, as the authority to change a process in all the departments that it moves through cannot be delivered through a silo based management structure.

We've been running Change Management Courses for years but recently added APMG's Certified Change Management Practitioner Course which is set to take off in 2014.

Change management brings together two distinct streams of work:

  • Delivery of structural change through the introduction of new systems, processes, people, product and service innovation and the creation of new markets, suppliers, customers and competitors.
  • Behavioural change leading to a new emphasis, new culture and values, and changed priorities for each individual impacted by the structural change.

Delivery of structural change can be “mechanised”, relying upon a foundation of project management processes and skills. Activities can be identified, their duration estimated, and schedules and plans developed with a reasonable level of certainty.

Behavioural change though requires an understanding of how the organisation operates as a living being, the power plays operating beneath the surface of the organisation structure, the values that individuals apply to their work and the forces that generate commitment, loyalty and motivation. Behavioural change can generate resistance, confusion and stress, decreased productivity and distancing of the individual from the ‘organisational good’.

As with structural change, resources in behavioural change must be assigned to take responsibility for developing and applying the change management methodology, communicating throughout the change, continuously measuring progress, recognising and rewarding results, and reinforcing change so it becomes embedded in the culture.

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