Change is defined as “the process by which things become different.”  But change is also a disruption to the cultural norm that brings fear, uncertainty, and doubt to the people that will be impacted. When that change is in a business, large or small, it comes rapidly. Whether it is forced upon you or you create it and make it work for you, managing change can help you survive and thrive.

Organizational Change Management (OCM) is one of the disciplines netlogx utilizes to help our clients make change work for them.  It’s the discipline that helps an organization and the people in the organization get ready, willing, and able to work in new ways that are required by a change. It is the people-side of project implementations.

To be most effective, OCM should be identified as a key element in every project at kickoff.  By identifying OCM as critical to the change initiative, you will be able to develop a strategy utilizing expertise, tools and templates to guide the organization throughout the change process.

The initial step to develop an OCM plan is to assess the organization’s readiness for change.  This organizational readiness assessment will not only document the level of preparedness for the project sponsors but will also provide a roadmap of recommendations upon which to build your plan for change.

The overall business goals of OCM are to:

  • minimize the impact on productivity,
  • reduce the possibility of a negative impact on customers,
  • quickly achieve the desired business outcome, and
  • avoid unnecessary turnover or loss of valued employees.

To successfully accomplish a change, we must address the human reaction or natural resistance to change.  We all know the old saying “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” which means that we resist the unknown in favor of what we do know.  OCM will help reduce the resistance by making the unknown known.

Effectively implementing change takes more than just communication and training. OCM provides the tools and techniques to manage all six levers of OCM and coordinates them to create a plan for success. The six levers of organizational change are:

  • Communication
  • Sponsorship
  • Organizational alignment
  • Training
  • Resistance Management
  • Rewards and Reinforcement

The business or project side of the equation is critical, but the organization also needs to keep in mind the team members that are going to be affected by any changes. A successful change needs team members to:

  • understand the need for change,
  • want to change,
  • understand how to change,
  • be able to make the change, and
  • believe the change is sustainable.

The responsibilities of the project sponsors as well as project communication managers should be directed at fulfilling the expectations of the people involved in the change. The goal of presenting and managing changes in your organization is that your team members will see the change as an opportunity and not a threat.

The people being impacted need to understand how processes happen today, what changes are going to take place to achieve the desired end-goal, and how processes will occur after the changes are implemented.  These three things seem pretty straight forward, but to the people affected by the change, they create ambiguity and fear.

Questions begin to swirl about the stability of their jobs. Will they be able to do their jobs? Is management committed to the change?  By utilizing Organizational Change Management to plan for and address these types of questions, team members can move from uncertainty to clarity, developing the commitment needed to transition to the future smoothly.

The key to successful organizational change is understanding how the OCM levers are connected to the people-side of change. Our next few blogs will dive into each of the six levers of OCM. You will learn how to utilize them to make sure that everyone experiencing organizational changes have all the information they need to commit fully.

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