To be honest, I was very skeptical about the individual change management concept. I guess I still am to an extent, because I think everyone’s trying to push using it in situations where it absolutely, totally doesn’t belong. Well, we’ll set the record straight on that in a moment, but first, we’ll need to talk about it.
What is it:
Well, individual change management is basically the concept of managing change in a small scale with a single employee or a single unit within an organization, rather than the entire system.
It’s a little bit of a misnomer, because a small department of a few individuals may be subject to a blanket individual change approach, because it’s less about number and more about relative scope of interests and directives.
It’s basically implementing simpler changes to simpler systems.
Why it’s Overused:
Well, the problem is that companies try to use this to apply change across the board by treating even the biggest scope like a set of small systems, and it becomes a micromanagement hell very, very quickly.
Why it’s Helpful:
That said, it’s helpful in a number of scenarios that used to be a real cluster before it was an idea. You see, one of the problems with change management is that it’s very communal, managing change in organizations, and treating it like organizational learning in a sense.
Well, when individuals needed to go through change, because their specific work habits need to be altered, there was no easy way to get people through this, because change management didn’t think that way.
With technology being so integral to business now, and its speed of change being blinding, the need for change both organizationally and individually is going to be eternally present from now on.
How to Manage this:
Well, you have to throw out all your old models and theories, don’t you? Not really, you can boil down a Kotter model to be short-lived and small in scope, to help individuals or small departments through smaller change.
It works surprisingly well, you just have to factor in the lack of high organization.
But, you can take a further step by incorporating something like WalkMe, which is an onboard system. It’ll integrate into interfaces, and guide users through each step, safely, of a process until they become practiced and accustomed to it.
This will allow the training aspect to be handled expertly, and with its analytics capture tool, you can stay on top of the change, while they take large parts of it into their own hands, thus making it overall productive and efficient in the grand scheme of things.
Using this too much, as I said, to micromanage bigger change will not end well, so be careful to make sure you only use this where it’s necessary, but not be afraid to use it where it is, no matter what.
All in all, individual change management has shown itself to be invaluable in situations before impenetrable to change management, and without even throwing away any models or philosophies. We just must remember to use this very wisely, of course.
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.