Change management in enterprise takes change management practices and applies them to the entire organization.
For change initiatives to truly work, they must function on three levels:
- The enterprise level – Instituting change capability at the organizational level
- The project level – Project-specific change
- The individual level – Change specific to the individual employee
Each level has its own goals, purposes, and functions.
It is important to recognize that every layer is interlinked, interdependent, and interconnected.
Below, we’ll focus on enterprise change management (often abbreviated ECM).
Change Management in Enterprise: A Quick Guide
Enterprise change management refers to, as mentioned, enabling organization wide change.
To do this, organizations will need to enhance their capability for change management.
Of course, not every organization has the same capacity for change – different organizations have different capabilities for change, which can be modeled in various ways.
A rough breakdown of these stages would be:
- Basic – Change capability consists of employees simply following change mandates, or receiving basic communications and training
- Mid-Level – Change management exists, but only in an unsophisticated form, and may or may not be applied consistently
- High-Level – The most advanced enterprise change management capability applies sophisticated programs consistently, with the support of executive sponsors
Naturally, the goal of enterprise change management is to enable advanced change capability. However, most organizations do not possess that level of maturity.
Developing this capability is one of the essential first steps towards effective change management.
Developing Enterprise Change Management Capability
As with any other change project, change does not happen spontaneously. Problems must be analyzed, solutions must be developed, and plans must be implemented.
The same is true for the development of change management departments and capabilities – this process too is a change management endeavor.
The first step to creating that capability is analysis:
- First, identify what capacities your company has for change and how past initiatives have taken place
- Then identify the desired state and capabilities
- Finally, define what steps and processes will enable change
Clearly, these analyses won’t occur overnight. And they require support from all levels.
Once complete, the next step is actually developing the capability for change.
Creating Capacity for Change Management
As mentioned, creating enterprise change capability is a change project in and of itself, consisting of several stages:
- Designing a change management framework that will govern various initiatives
- Creating a charter, or set of guidelines, that will direct these initiatives
- Building the required platform and resources
These three processes aim at institutionalizing change capability within an organization.
When they are complete, your organization should have capabilities such as:
- Consistent change management tools and processes to any new change initiative
- The ability to envision change, lead change, and manage change successfully
- A standard approach to managing change
- Departments and support structures
- An organization-wide understanding of change management practices and benefits
These capabilities, and more, will enable organizations to change effectively and economically.
While change managers may be aware of the benefits of this, others in the organization may not be.
Reasons to Institutionalize Change Management
Permanently incorporating enterprise change management offers a great number of benefits to that organization.
Today, the ability to change has become essential for many large companies. In some cases, a company’s very survival may depend on the ability to change.
Here are a few benefits of institutionalizing the capacity for change:
- Change initiatives stand a greater chance of success
- Programs will generate better results across all targets
- They will cost less, proceed more smoothly, and finish more quickly
- The organization as a whole will be more agile, adaptable, and flexible
Because the marketplace is so fast-paced and competitive, enterprise change management should be given serious weight. This is especially true for organizations that undergo changes, even semi-frequently.
3 Enterprise Change Management Tips
Successful incorporation of enterprise change management takes planning, effort, and time.
However, the rewards make it well worth the effort.
If your company is considering institutionalizing change capability, here are a few tips that can help:
- Look to established organizational change consultancies for support. Well-known companies such as Prosci have built reputations as industry leaders in this space. They specialize in change management, offering a wealth of tools, templates, and courses.
- When developing the capacity for change, follow change management best practices. As mentioned, this change process is, in and of itself, a change project. When undertaking this process, follow frameworks, implement tools, and use principles – just as you will after the project is complete.
- Get sponsorship and commitment from the top. As studies have shown, leadership must support change management. This is the most critical contributor to the success of any change program. This is probably even more true for the institutionalization of enterprise change management. Without that support, the change department itself will be built on a weak foundation, threatening future change initiatives from the start.
Proper change capability will significantly aid any organization that attempts to undertake change programs.
Over time, the rewards of this change capacity will pay for itself repeatedly.
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.