Change management is a very commonly used term in today’s parlance, as a master term encompassing anything to do with the organizational change. Change management is a vital part of any new corporate initiative. It is a pathway that helps people move from their accustomed way of working to the newly defined way of working. Irrespective of how you see it, Change management starts with a change problem. The change problems are of three types; they may be either process focused, end result focused, and others may want to get to the root cause of the change itself.

Detailed below are each of these three models of seeing change, and the employee segments that get pulled to each of these segments. As soon as you announce change, different segments view it differently, it is important to satisfy each segment so that they come on board.

The “How?” Problem

The “How” questions are essentially means-centered change management issues, the end outcome is implied; the questions aims to decipher the process to get to the end result as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your team members in the operations and systems team, would tend to gravitate towards the how questions as their work makes them process focused. The typical questions are.

·      How do we get our colleagues to shoulder more responsibility?

·      How do we transition from the current system to the new system?

 The “What?” Problem

The “What” questions are primarily focused on the end result only, they partially ignore the means to the end and focus on the result only. Your colleagues in the staff and line functions who are measured on the quantum of output would tend to gravitate towards these questions as they are looking forward to a definite set of metrics to measure the performance. The typical questions are.

·      What is that we are trying to achieve?

·      How would we know if we are successful?

·      What standards are applicable?

 The “Why?” Problem

The “Why” questions are a balanced set, and seek to imbibe both the process and the end result. The process and end result can form a spiral till the optimum state is achieved. The senior management team typically asks these questions about change, they are more focused on the rational behind the strategy and why the change will improve the odds of organization’s success. The typical questions are.

·      Why do we need to shore up productivity? (To increase profits.)

·      Why do we need to increase profit percentage? (To improve earnings per share.)

·      Why do we need to have more surplus in balance sheet? (To do additional investments.)

Change management is an amalgamation of art and science and requires a combination of both people and system-focused skills. Depending on the kind of change being undertaken, different skills will come into play .The key skills needed you will need to be a change master are

·      Diplomacy (understand the politics but do not become a participant)

·      Ability to engage a large audience

·      Communication skills

·      Listening skills & ability to assimilate differing views without being judgmental

·      Workflow, Operations, Systems & Financial analysis

·      An appreciation of how people, industries, or economies, interplay with each other

In a nutshell, if you understand how the business works and what change entails for each unit you will be able to ride the change to success.

Jappreet Sethi
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