How to Successfully Manage Organizational Change (Without Tearing Your Hair Out)

Anyone who wants to know how to successfully manage organizational change must learn about change management.

Change management is the business practice devoted to engineering, leading, and managing organizational change projects.

Large or small, change management is a necessity.

The right change management approach:

And much more.

Below, we will learn some fundamental change management approaches that can help you better manage your change projects.

Tips on How to Successfully Manage Organizational Change

In no particular order, let’s look at a few ways you can improve the results of your next organizational change project.

Understand the Discipline of Change Management

To successfully manage organizational change, change management is a must.

This business discipline is devoted to designing, executing, managing, and optimizing change projects.

Here are a few concepts to help introduce you to the field:

  • Change Management – Change managers assess change readiness, mitigate risk, design project plans, and implement projects. Their aim is to achieve a business change, while minimizing risk and negative impacts to the business.
  • Organizational Change – There are many types of organizational change, which can affect everything from people to processes to technology. An intentional change will have specific goals, a budget, a strategy, and so forth.
  • Barriers to Change – As with any other project, organizational change will face roadblocks. Employee resistance is one of the most common. Others include lack of executive sponsorship, budgetary constraints, technology limitations, and so on.
  • Change Management Frameworks – Change management is decades old. Over its history, a number of industry leaders have developed models that can be used to better understand and apply change management principles.

For more details on any of these topics, feel free to visit our change management blog.

Or, to gain a deeper understanding of change management, consider studying the subject in more depth.

This leads us to the next point…

Get Trained on Change Management

Certifications in organizational development or change management are great ways to learn about change management.

These certifications:

  • Teach you practical and theoretical approaches to managing change
  • Help you understand group dynamics
  • Address the most common obstacles faced during organizational change
  • Explain change management models and frameworks

Among many other things.

There are many benefits to getting certified.

For instance, certifications are often very affordable, only a few thousand dollars in many cases.

Also, by training your own staff, you don’t have to rely on outsourced support – though that is another option for managing change, discussed below.

Companies that will be undergoing multiple change projects should consider training their own staff.

It will certainly pay off in the long run.

Use the Right Change Management Tools

Technology offers a significant competitive edge.

And in change management, the right tools can:

  • Cut project overhead
  • Free up managers’ time for more valuable activities
  • Help team members stay in sync and on task
  • Improve communications
  • Decrease project completion times

And much more.

There are plenty of tools that can help change managers accomplish their goals, such as:

To find the right tool for your needs, look at your technology stack, find growth opportunities, then evaluate potential product vendors.

Create Roadmaps for Change

Change management and project management are different disciplines.

But they share some commonalities – they require effective project management, people management, and leadership.

And both must follow structured action plans, or roadmaps.

In change management, a change plan is typically based around change management models.

These are then adapted into company-specific project roadmaps.

Here is a hypothetical example:

  • Assess the problem
  • Assess readiness for change
  • Assess risk
  • Develop a solution
  • Design a roadmap
  • Pilot test the project
  • Onboard and train 
  • Make adjustments
  • Initiate rollout in stages
  • Optimize the program
  • Finalize 
  • Perform post-project tasks, such as re-training
  • Review project results

Each stage of the roadmap would be accompanied by goals, metrics, descriptions, and other key information.

Experienced project managers and change managers should be able to assist with developing a roadmap.

Or, for more information, look at some of our articles that cover change management roadmaps.

Lead Change from the Ground Up

Change leadership is critical for successful organizational change.

There are a few ways that leadership can improve change management:

  • Executive sponsorship can increase funding, streamline project implementation, decrease scrutiny, speed up project approval, and so on
  • Leaders and managers who embody change first will get more support from frontline employees
  • Leadership is necessary to create a compelling vision and a story for change – these help employees know where they are going and why

Depending on the organization, leadership and management may be two different parties.

In either case, leadership makes management’s job easier, for the reasons just mentioned.

Without the driving force of leadership, management will have a much harder time motivating employees, building trust, and getting positive results.

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.