Manual The 7 Rules of Change Management

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When leaders appreciate and consider the organizational culture -- employees' expectations, norms, and behaviors -- during large organizational change initiatives, it can make a world of difference. Even acknowledging that cultural barriers exist can have a positive effect on the success of large-scale changes. At the same time, true organizational change challenges the status quo and resets underlying workplace issues. As change and culture meet, a natural friction is likely to occur. Leaders should be prepared to compromise on cultural issues that are not critical to accomplishing successful change.

This marriage of old and new won't ever be exact, and a likely outcome of the change initiatives will be eliminating ineffective norms and behaviors. Leaders need to understand that this cultural shift can be a gradual process and that organizations, like humans, are only capable of digesting so much at one given time. Clearly communicate your strategy and your reasoning behind the change. Leaders should not assume that the company's strategy is clear and that employees -- particularly managers and front-line employees -- understand "why" and "how" the company will be changing.

Making strategy relevant to front-line employees' day-to-day work should be a leadership team's primary objective.

Part 1: Convince Your Org That Change is Needed

Leaders also need to define the problem, be honest about the challenges, and show that the strategy they build and execute is logical. Leaders should be transparent about the future risks -- being open and honest with employees is a highly effective policy in the face of large-scale change. Senior leadership's real job, regardless of their individual title or job description, is to develop and implement successful change initiatives.

Many senior leaders fail because they aren't able to help an organization evolve. The more effective you are at change management, the higher your value to any organization.

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Subscribe to receive weekly Gallup News alerts. Instead they said:. So when we conclude that executive sponsorship is the number one success factor for change, the mere assignment of a senior leader as a sponsor does not constitute having effective sponsorship for your change.

While you may already know that active and visible sponsorship for change is the number one contributor to success, keep in mind that:. Organizational value systems impact the way change happens. What is important to our organization? How are decisions made? Who is in charge? How do I relate to other employees and groups within our organization? What behaviors are rewarded and recognized? What is compensation based upon? The answers to these questions vary from country to country, industry to industry, organization to organization, and department to department.

It is critical for all change managers to understand the underlying values of their organizations because these factors directly influence the way change will be perceived and how much work will ultimately be required to ensure successful outcomes during a change. Value systems are the organizational canvas on which any change project is painted, and the basic principles of change management will be manifested differently in every organization. The magnitude of a given change will impact how employees react and how you should manage the change.

Manager Involvement Needed

Incremental change that does not cause employees to move too far from what they know will experience a different level of resistance than radical change that introduces dramatic change. The right approach and amount of change management required by a given project or initiative is unique and specific to that change.

In addition, you must adjust your approach based on how the change uniquely affects each group of impacted employees. These may seem like simple questions, but they are often overlooked or not asked by the teams building solutions. Project teams tend to focus on the solution the transition state they are designing. When we add a change management perspective to a project or initiative, it becomes important to understand just how much change or disruption is taking place because it impacts how we will manage that change.

Answering the questions above provides an invaluable data point when developing the right change management approach. Changes come to life through the work and behaviors of individuals in your organization.

Table of Contents

Simply coming up with the right solution is not enough to ensure that results are achieved. The right answer alone does not:. To deliver value, a solution must be adopted and embraced by employees. Change management, at its core, is a structured approach for bridging the gap between a great idea and tangible value to the organization.

If you are only focusing on developing the right answer, you will not be successful at implementing lasting change in your organization. Change management adds structure and intent for moving employees from their current state to their future state. Through effective communication, sponsorship, coaching, training and resistance management, employees are led to make the decision to get on board and support a change.

Online ITIL® Training and Preparation:Change Management :7 R’s of Change Management

Change management provides a repeatable and rigorous approach to helping individuals move forward and adopt a change to their day-to-day work, which is what enables projects to ultimately deliver results. It is important to have the right answer. But the right answer alone is not sufficient to deliver lasting change in the organization. Change management is about moving employees forward through their own change processes using a robust organizational process.

It is the combination of the right answer and engaged employees that results in lasting and successful change. Meeting project objectives results from both having the right answer and from motivating the individual changes necessary for employees to adopt and embrace the change. Change occurs as a process, not as an event. Organizational change does not happen instantaneously because there was an announcement, kickoff meeting, or even go-live date.


Individuals do not change simply because they received an email or attended a training program. When we experience change, we move from what we had known and done through a period of transition to arrive at a desired new way of behaving and doing our job.

The 7 Change Management Golden Rules

Although it is the last of the seven principles of change management presented, treating change as a process is a central component of successful change and successful change management. By breaking change down into distinct phases, you can better customize and tailor your approach to ensure individuals successfully adopt the change to how they work. With bigger, faster and more complex change happening in business and in the world at large, change management cannot focus exclusively on traditional change activities, such as communication and training. Effective change practitioners must have a proven and holistic approach to change management, but they must also understand why their approach works.

A proven, research-based methodology combined with understanding the why behind it is a powerful combination that will result in change success again and again. Thought Leadership Articles. Why does it work? Senders and Receivers Every change can be viewed from the perspective of a sender and a receiver. Implications for Practitioners Realizing that what receivers hear and what senders say is not always the same is the first step to understanding that change management cannot be reduced to a set of activities or steps.

Implications for Practitioners Consider this basic thought process: If resistance to change is a normal and natural reaction, then resistance should be expected.

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The three critical and relevant lessons for change management practitioners related to employee resistance are: Do not react to resistance with surprise; expect it and plan for it. Be patient with individuals as they work their way through the change process.

Change Management Process

Assess resistance not only from an individual perspective, but also based on the larger organizational context. Authority for Change Active and visible sponsorship has remained the top success factor for change management over the 20 years that Prosci has studied change management best practices. Sponsor in Practice Consider a project that you are supporting today.

Value Systems Organizational value systems impact the way change happens. Implications for Practitioners Value systems are the organizational canvas on which any change project is painted, and the basic principles of change management will be manifested differently in every organization. Therefore: Listen carefully and observe constantly to gain insight about the leadership structure, organizational history and underlying beliefs of the groups impacted by the change.

Conduct an organizational attributes assessment to spur discussion and to help you make sure you have asked the right questions. Customize and scale specific change management action plans that take into account the unique value systems of the impacted groups. Incremental vs. Radical Change The magnitude of a given change will impact how employees react and how you should manage the change. Implications for Practitioners In the context of incremental vs.