The Process of Change Management Explained

Having covered at length many theories of change management, models, differences across departments and so forth, I think it’s about time to look at the process of change management in general, independent from all these models and theories and the like.


So, today, we’ll be looking over this process of change management from start to finish, without concerning ourselves over specific models, departments, types of organizations and other more technical concerns. The idea here is to get a more general look at the nature of change management, and obtain a theory-independent view of what this science looks like when being practically applied.

If you’re looking for stuff regarding technicalities, theory or science behind change management, I suggest looking at our other pieces specifically handling those. But, before you do, give this a look so you have a bigger picture of change and how those theories and sciences have legitimate meaning.

Change management begins when a need for a change is detected. This is brought on by a number of things. In many cases, simple assessment of processes and performances can reveal the need for change eventually. Other times, the times you don’t want to happen, are when serious problems arise, showing a drastic need for changes to be made.

When a need is seen, regardless of its method of detection, from this point, further assessment is needed of all people that are part of the subject. Performance, efficiency, logging of processes from start to completion, and measuring a number of their metrics compared to the definitions of them within their department reveal the nature of the problem, and give a window for the changes that need to be made to abate the problem.

Upon detecting the changes that must be made, and outlining the issues that bring about the need for these changes, a strategy should be formulated. A model for how you will implement the change, the small steps of individual changes to be made to reach the goal, your training models for teaching the changes, and your ultimate goals and resource budgets should be planned out before proposing change to those in charge.

Following this, stake holders and sponsors – those providing the resources and authority to apply the changes, must be acquired by showing the problem, the change, outlining the benefits this change will bring about, and demonstrating the models and strategies for your plan.

Now you’re ready to actually begin implementing change. The order and approach of this depends on the model you’ve chosen, but you have a series of general steps. These include explaining the changes needed to those affected, and getting people on board. Upon doing this, you must teach the changes, per step, according to your training method you have selected. During these steps, you must contend with individuals being frightened or unsure, and instilling confidence in them, and freezing them on the new changes.

Once the changes are implemented and adopted, you then make certain any related policies and practices not being changed don’t clash paradoxically with the changes. If so, then you renew the cycle until each small change to complete the cumulative change is complete.

During the meat of this process of change management, you will log progress, spend time interacting with the trainees to hear their concerns and questions, and report regularly to stakeholders and sponsors of your progress. The process, in general, is fairly straightforward, but you can see how it calls for a lot of science and strategy (as we’ve covered previously) to handle these processes when they’re actually being performed.

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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