Defining Change Management
The phrase “change management” has been surfaced about half a century ago and now it is one of the most important managerial technique to achieve the organisational objectives, by ensuring that the strategic changes are implemented properly and, to ensure the benefits of such changes to achieve a new set of goals or the mission of the company in a new way lasts for long. Change management is not a process or strategic program like business process reengineering, Just in Time technique or any other value addition process to achieve a new feat in the production of goods and services. Rather Change management is an attitude and style with which the leaders of an organisation pursue the people to adopt the change in the strategic or operational direction of the organisation so that the strategic changes could be implemented successfully to meet the changing needs of the organisation as well as the market.
Today change management is not an objective for the managers to be achieved, but it has become one of the most essential quality for the leadership to cope up with the constantly changing external and internal environment of businesses. The leaders have to accept the fact that the changes are the most normal phenomenon in the perspective of the reality of the present day’s business and they have to learn to accept and deal with the new challenges to achieve success of their organisation.
The need of the change management:
The entire global economy has been transformed drastically during the past few decades. With the unprecedented advancement of technologies, especially the information and communication technology, and with a change in the cultural atmosphere of every society all over the world, the global economy has been changed from nation based and resource based system to a system, which is based on the global networking and transnational organisational culture, where knowledge and information are regarded as the most valuable resources for the organisations.
With the change of the economic scenario and the globalisation of the world economy, the organisations have to constantly evolve and cope up with the constantly changing global economy to sustain and move forward in the face of the intense competitive business environment. Change has become the new constant and the organisations which are looking after the short term financial goals without incorporating the long term views are soon finding them in the brink of the value destruction and loss of brand equity. To stay ahead of the competitors, the change management must be embedded into the leadership style.
The adoption of the change management as a leadership style is a process and needs a considerable ground work. The basic questions which will shape the change management are
- Where is your organisation standing now?
- Where you want to see your organisation?
- What is the strength and weaknesses of the organisation?
- How to achieve the desired position?
- What change is required to be made to get there?
- How the change could be implemented to steer the organisation in the desired direction?
The whole process requires introspection into the strength and weakness of the organisation, to find the opportunity that could be exploited by the company, to judge how to achieve that objective and what changes are required to be adopted for that purpose. In getting the organisation to its desired destination, the change required could be small or it may require a drastic change, necessitating the rollover of most of the critical functions of the organisation. Yes, sometimes, the change could well be described as a big bang! The leaders should judge well, the nature of the change and its impact on the overall organisation, especially the people of the organisation, well ahead of making the first step in the new direction.
During the entire process as described above, the change management is the thread which will interwoven the entire phases of implementing the organisational change successfully and will ensure that people of the organisation execute the strategic and operational change smoothly to make certain that the end result is achieved and lasts for a long time, till another new destination is decided by the management. The leadership will have different situation depending on the type of change it intends to make in the organisational direction. It is imperative that the leaders of the organisation work closely with the peoples of the organisation by sharing the details of the plans to bring about the change. This effort will define the scope of the change management that has to be adopted by the leaders to manage the change in the organisation. The delegation of responsibility to manage the change as well as to bring about the change will have to be clearly defined if the organisation is to sail through the obstacles that would be posed before the leaders to implement the change process.
Once the scope of the change management is defined, the entire process of managing the change will have to be divided into specific activities like:
- Ensuring all the people about the change in the strategic direction of the organisation with clearly specifying the reason of such change and what is expected from them to implement the change and why their involvement is important.
- The responsibility to bring about the change should be clearly delegated to some people who will be responsible to implement the change at critical functional area. Likewise, the other people are also required to be explained in detail what is expected from them and how important their role is to achieve the new objective of the organisation.
- The impact of the change on the people of the organisation with its possible outcomes should clearly be explained to the people of the organisation.
- The entire process of bringing the change should be divided in a progressive manner by defining the time to accomplish the change at each and every stage and at each and every functional area. The completion of the each stage should be monitored and reported with the degree of success as well as the mistakes, that should be avoided, before proceeding to the next stage of the change process
Whatever may be the objective and the new set of direction of the organisation, the leadership of the organisation has to accept the fact that change management is the bottom-line to achieve those objectives and, has to make this change management the new normal for the leadership. Every new project and production technique will definitely necessitate some change, small or big, in the organisational functions affecting the people of the organisation. Managing the people to accept the change to achieve the new direction or to implement the new project requires a successful management of the change by the leadership of the organisation.