Strategic Change Management Overview and Tips

So, what is strategic change management, really? Is this some special approach and mindset to implementing and handling change, versus other models and philosophies? Is it another blasted buzzword? Well, it’s not a buzzword, and while it is a distinct thing, it’s not so distinct that I really think it needs so much analysis on its own.

However, since you will be encountering times when strategic change management is necessary, it’s best to take a look at what it is, and maybe give some advice on how to best implement it.

Ok, there are two basic sets of change within a company, brought on by different stimuli. Internal stimuli (standards not being met, inefficiencies or disgruntlement or problematic policies) cause operational change to go into effect. This is a bit more of a cut and dry situation, and when handled right, the public doesn’t even have to know about the change process.

However, strategic change is brought about as reaction to external stimuli, such as customers and economic factors. Change for this is very obvious, and very disruptive, because it’s often a bigger set of changes than operational change will bring about. It’s also often faster paced and heavier in workload as well.

So, the first thing to consider when working with strategic change is that you can’t spend a lot of time struggling with unfreezing people. If customer or economic stimuli spur change, it needs to happen as it needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

This brings about a simple “this is how it has to be” razor edge that means that non-self-adapting people just … can’t continue to work within an organization. It’s cruel but unavoidable, alas.

This same stoniness also applies to leadership and management approaches. You can’t be someone’s best buddy, because there’s no time for it. You have to be a final authority, but one that they can rely on.

Finally, with budgeting time and training stages with this strategic scenario, you can’t take the time it takes to be really effective in operational change. This means that you need to rapidly make change, and be less worried about the risk of system shocks as you rapidly go through training and locking in individual segments of the change.

Staff feedback has to take a bit of a back seat too, aside from when people express a lack of understanding of material, thus meaning their progress through the current phase is as yet incomplete.

Beyond that though, your models and agendas and so on are still just the standard choices and cases that any change management process brings in. It’s not really that complex, it just means being less homeopathic with your managerial approaches and your planning.

Strategic change management is a rushed, stressful thing, because it affects the external image of your company and your brand, as well as how effectively you meet their needs and satisfy them. It’s never fun when this comes around, because there’s no room for niceties and selling people on change, because there’s no time to dawdle. But, if you have to do it, then now you know what you’re up against, and knowing is half the battle.

Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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