Achieving more with change management

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Achieving more with change management

Life is constantly evolving and changing. This affects work processes, structures and the behaviour of employees. In very few cases it is advisable to stick to seemingly tried and tested habits. With a targeted change process you make your company fit for the future. It is important that those affected adhere to rules and orient themselves to the experience gained in change management.

Our coaching offer at Greator provides you with interesting background knowledge on change management. A closer look at the topic shows that change often does not only affect work. In your private life, too, everything is in flux. This means that you are constantly evolving. The goal is to make better use of your existing potential. You can find out how this works here.

What is change management?

Change management relates to all areas, from organizational systems to work processes and daily interaction. Optimally, all employees benefit from the change management process. The positive impact on the working atmosphere and improved productivity cannot be overlooked, as previous experience and psychological studies show

All work activities, project tasks and measures are affected by the change in the organization. Through the renewed strategies, ingrained structures can be changed and optimized. Within this framework, technical and organizational processes can be rethought The new strategies not only improve practical processes. 

Employee engagement also increases. However, it is important to involve employees and other stakeholders in the change process. This way, everyone affected benefits from the change.

Change management offers these opportunities

What is change management in an individual case and what opportunities does the change process offer? Each individual process goes through several phases that can be planned in advance. In this way, the change management process enables success to be measured.

Change management has its origins in the USA. Here Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist from Germany, developed a systematic concept for business enterprises and organizations. 

With his theory, he strove to support social change at this level as well. The Lewin's three-phase concept is considered the basis for later change management models. John P. Kotter presented a concept with eight phases that goes beyond unfreezing, moving and refreezing. Which phases make sense for each case depends on the work environment and the company structure.

Three Change Management Definitions

  1. There are three definitions of change management. The differences reveal the possibilities offered by change management. The first definition refers to the change process: the tools and techniques used for it. With the help of these tools, the people affected by the change can be managed in a targeted manner. The goal is better productivity and a correspondingly positive business result.
  2. In the second explanation, the term change management denotes the listing of principles, techniques and specifications that are important for the employees. The human factor plays a very important role in the implementation of successful change processes. According to Daryl R. Conner, this is exactly what the modern change management for the employees aims at.
  3. The third change management definition comes from the Project Management Institute (PMI). This is about the systematic approach to dealing with change. Both the corporate perspective and the individual point of view are addressed.
Goals of Change Management

Goals of Change Management

The main goal of change management is to change human behavior again and again. Often this change is related to new technical possibilities or a changed structure in the organization.

Basically, change management strives to strengthen the positive attitude of employees. With the help of the orientation for realignment or restructuring, you pave the way to success. This is done by involving individuals in the change. This personal contribution strengthens teamwork and motivation.

The dynamic changes in the fast-paced world of work require constant adaptation. This is reflected in the major goals of change management:

- Greater internationalisation or globalisation of the market

- Technical innovations

- Compliance with specific requirements (changes in legislation, political change)

- Adaptation to social changes

- Increased need of employees for a better work-life balance

- Changing customer requirements

- Protection of resources.

Instruments of Change Management

For a successful change management, it is important to find the right instruments and tools. In the best case, the change process starts before the actual crisis. However, this can only succeed if communication works. There are suitable dialogue formats for the different areas - management, project management and employees.

One of the important change management success factors is vision development. It is a key element and drives the learning organization. With workshops and further training measures, managers and other employees can be well involved in the change.

In addition to having a clear vision of the future, these tools are helpful:

- A precise status and environment analysis

- A transformation roadmap- goal-oriented project management- events and other happenings

- A simplified communication

- Personnel development and team-building measures

- Train-the-trainer for managers

- Further coaching offers and incentive systems

- Balanced Scorecard (balanced reporting sheet)

- interviews

Depending on the size and structure of the company, other tools such as assessment centres, audits and information fairs can be used. Also competence and Conflict Management are useful tools. This sets the change processes in motion and encourages employees to make their own contributions. The result is a learning organization based on good knowledge and culture management. Successful change is thus pre-programmed.

(Source: Procedure and methods of change management)

5 steps in the change management process

The change process leads to a change curve, which indicates the challenge for employees. In the case of a short-term change, the stress level increases. That is why it is important to accompany those affected on their journey. This runs in five successive steps:

  • Step 1: Surprise and Denial - the announcement of a change often leads to a defensive attitude in the first moment.
  • Step 2: Realize - employees recognize the change but do not yet accept it. Many feel frustrated or fight the transformation.
  • Step 3: Negotiation - the frustration is followed by the inner negotiation of the people concerned. They consider which processes are acceptable to them and what they are less comfortable with.
  • Step 4: Trial and commitment - after a while, the first step comes of its own accord. A cautious test run begins. With positive experiences, interest increases and the old processes are forgotten. This is how the approach to the new ways of solving problems begins.
  • Step 5: Target state - after going through the change curve, employees feel the new approach is natural.

The end of these phases offers employees a sense of achievement. The change process is over. Now comes the time for a stable working environment in which the new processes become a habit.

Change Management Models

Change Management Models at a Glance

In most change processes the fixed pattern is clearly visible. The change cycles provide a good orientation for implementing change management. Which method is suitable for your company depends on the type and size of the company. The demands of the change are also decisive: Are you planning a major upheaval or just a minor adjustment?

3-phase model

One of the best known change management models is the 3-phase model by Kurt Lewin. The first phase is unfreezing, which activates the changing forces. This is followed by the change (Changing) itself, which takes a certain period of adjustment. Finally comes stabilization (refreezing), in which an increased level of performance is established.

This 3-phase model is now outdated, because the last phase exists for a short time at most. This is due to the constant development and change of companies and the market situation. The change takes place permanently.

8-step change management model

In the 1990s, John P. Kotter presented a 8-step model of change managements before. Kotter shows the importance of addressing the awareness of the affected employees. Therefore, the first stage of the change process addresses the urgency of change. The second step is about building a leadership team and building trust. This is followed by developing a clear vision and strategy. Once the long-term goal has been established, the fourth step is the corresponding communication, i.e. convincing the employees.

In the fifth phase, employees are given the opportunity to actively shape the change. It may be necessary to restructure human resources. The sixth step serves to make the first successes visible. Intermediate goals that are achieved after a short time are suitable for this. After this motivation comes the seventh phase, in which the previous successes can be secured. Now is also the time for further proposals for change and for the eighth step: anchoring the change in the corporate philosophy.

In addition to these two main methods, other change management models exist. The 5-phase model of the German economist Wilfried Krüger offers particular transparency and is also flexible to apply. Among other things, the readiness for change plays a major role. The top-down and bottom-up models are also interesting. In the top-down method, the specifications come from management, while in the bottom-up model, the employees have the initiative. For a combined model that combines the advantages of both methods, you need a well thought-out concept. In addition, a permanent dialogue is important in order to respect all wishes during the transformation and to realize the objectives.

10 success factors of change management

Change management success factors influence the outcome of change, but they cannot always be pre-programmed. That is why it is important to keep an eye on how the change processes work. With a planned management to change strategy processes, a sustainable and effective implementation is possible.

With a positive attitude and the commitment of the employees, the initial resistance can be reduced. This has a positive effect on success through change management. With the following 10 success factors you will succeed in making the company competitive and sustainable.

1 A coherent concept and a suitable strategy lead to success. For this, it is important to coordinate precisely within the company. This way, resistance can be minimized.

2. clear communication of the change processes eliminates misunderstandings.

A change management team strengthens the support of the company management. Here, resources and expert knowledge are bundled. In addition, the core team radiates authority and is actively involved in the co-design as a representative for all those affected. The decision-makers also play a role in this.

4. scheduling and timely information allow for a good overview of the change process.

5 With the presentation of the first success experiences, possible criticism from within the own ranks can be dispelled. This strengthens the support. The critical voices can nevertheless be an important source of information in order to identify possible risks.

6. unforeseen effects do not occur without reason, but they are in the context of certain actions. The dependencies point to certain problems or to specific Needswhich are to be fulfilled.

It is important that the change processes and models fit the existing corporate philosophy. There are proven as well as new and compatible methods for different industries and companies.

8 Resistance has a strong influence on change. Due to the change, responsibilities and power relations change. To avoid problems, it is advisable to find some kind of balance. By recognizing and taking into account the resistances, you also perceive a useful resource, which often contains a profound knowledge.

9. resources such as sufficient good personnel, financial means and premises, enable a tailor-made change management. This is about the capacity of the management level on the one hand and the employees who are responsible for the implementation of the change on the other hand.

10. performance incentives increase the willingness to change behaviour and to participate in change.

Typical difficulties in change management projects

Again and again change projects fail, like Study results prove. This is often due to the fact that the workforce has hardly any say in the matter and is also under pressure. Often, the changes initially lead to increased time pressure, which has a negative impact on day-to-day business.

The purely substantive change relates to work strategies, processes, systematic relationships and structures. In the process, the personal level and the required employees are neglected. However, the change process can only work with the participation and personal appreciation of the staff. The path begins with an additional burden, and it is a long way to the relief.

At Greator you will learn how to make the change successful: We show you what is important. The sense of purpose provides the necessary orientation and strengthens the interest and readiness of the workforce. This is how you manage the way from the first step of surprise over the Acceptance and realization up to the goal: the change.

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