As an Organisational Change Manager it is your responsibility to manage a change, for example business or IT (Information Technology) related. The change is part of the business vision maximising organisational performance, exploring business needs and wants. However, at times this is easier said than done. Before we start to look into some of the challenges of an Organisational Change Manager, let’s look at some of the definitions and responsibilities.
What is OCM?
Organisational Change Management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new business, strategies, processes, procedures, technologies and changes in organisational structure or cultural changes within a company. Simply put, OCM addresses the people side of change management.
The responsibility of a Change Manager is to play a key role in ensuring projects (change initiatives) meet project and business objectives on time and on budget by increasing employee adoption and usage. This person will focus on the people side of change, including changes to business processes, systems and technology, job roles and organisation structures.
For those of you who have already either had change imposed on you, or implemented change for others, you can never please everyone. You will always experience resistance in people changing culture, employees taking on new or different responsibilities and employees having to adopt changes in the ways of working. Part of the responsibility is dealing with this resistance which comes in many forms.
Before we start debating some of the issues that Change Managers will experience, I would like to take it one step further because for me, Change Managers should also be responsible for performance – business, cost, proficiency, process effectiveness. Performance Management is defined as ‘The process of organising, planning, leading and controlling resources within an entity with the overall aim of achieving its objectives’. The organisational management of business needs is to be able to make decisions and resolve issues in order to be both effective and beneficial.
Challenges of a Change Manager
Piggy in the Middle
I have often been the middle person between IT and Business facilitating discussions and quite rightly so. However, very often IT doesn’t consider the Business Process that drives business ways of working and ultimately revenue and Business doesn’t consider the IT process and the constraints put on them. If only IT and Business worked together more, to see each other’s point of view and to accept they are both working for the company to achieve its common visions and objectives and their own targets. And that is key for me – working together to achieve the same vision. Sadly, politics get in the way and often hinder progress.
The IT Project Team is very reluctant to over-customise which is also correct. The more customisation, the more expensive the technology becomes not only today on implementation, but also in the future when there are upgrades. As a result of non-customisation there is often an unforeseen process change which needs to be managed by the Change Manager impacting users. However, we should never lose sight of the overall benefits of the overall change and one small additional step becomes insignificant when observing the bigger picture and which all employees are responsible for engaging. It is the Change Manager’s responsibility to communicate and emphasise the bigger picture so that users do not become embroiled in the small somewhat insignificant changes.
The Computer Says No!
Sometimes users want to see certain things in the software, only because this is what they did in the past. The Change Manager in this instance has to have the discussion with the business to fully understand the requirement. The following are the possible outcomes:
- The requirement may not have been identified and is therefore a gap
- The requirement may not have been fully understood and needs further analysis
- The requirement may have been overlooked and needs to be addressed
- The requirement is mandatory and needs a workaround
- The requirement is no longer required
- The requirement has been met, via a different process or step and needs communicating and training
It is at this point that Business, IT and Change Management come together and agree the way forward. Whatever the outcome, it is critical that appropriate training is given to end users to ensure they understand the different ways of working.
Longer Processes – Governance
With the implementation of new systems, processes are redefined and often this is due to governance best practices – the system of rules, practices and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled. This may result in new ways of working and additional responsibilities. It is important that those people whose roles are changing understand these changes, often implemented because of best practices within the industry and it is equally important, if not more so, that management reinforce these changes. Often I have been in situations where I am driving the change but lacked management support. Whatever the changes being implemented, it is critical that management supports you through actions on their part as well as your own. Without their support for governance and changes, your job becomes that much more difficult.
Wants and Needs
The business often likes to take opportunities to ask for more whilst the implementation of changes is taking place. There is nothing wrong with this, but as a Change Manager, challenging these requests is important. Is the request simply a want and is it truly needed? Again, analysing the request in line with the organisation’s vision and objectives is important and this may sway the requirement one way or the other.
The other consideration is if the want is small and costs little, it can be used to balance what the business is getting versus what the business wants. Every person needs to feel they are getting something that they want and need, and often it is a question of quick wins and trade-offs.
Of course cost is always an important factor. Some requirements are simply too complicated to implement. This is where the Project Board may intervene who is responsible for making final decisions which you will then need to convey outlining advantages and disadvantages.
Cost also affects performance. Appropriate communication and training plans executed with efficiency and skill will avoid confusion, bad habits and errors. As Change Managers, it is your responsibility to ensure everyone understands all the change impacts affecting them. This does not only include system training, but also process and responsibility training, changes in ways of working. If this is done well, expensive costs to rectify situations can be avoided and the benefits of the project realised sooner.
Efficiency and Performance
Whatever the IT implementation, as outlined above, it is important that appropriate training and knowledge transfer is planned for. As Change Managers, we need to ensure that all users understand the changes through analyses, the reasons for the changes, and how to adopt the change through communications and education cascading information across the organisation.
As Change Managers, it is our responsibility to challenge some of the decisions taken by IT and Business with the ultimate aim of improving efficiency and performance of all end users at every level.
Evolution Culture offers a portfolio of courses on various areas of expertise for Change and Training Managers. The methodologies used are ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) for Change Management and ADDIE (Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) for training which we teach in our courses on Change Management and Training related subjects, crammed with best practice, hints and tips on improving employee efficiency and performance. We follow the ADKAR and ADDIE methods when working as consultants within organisations. We are developing a step by step guide on managing change and training using these methodologies – this will be coming out soon, so watch this space.
Evolution Culture can help find a solution that works for each organisation, by providing consultancy as and when needed or taking the time to prepare your internal staff to deliver an effective change and training programme for your implementation.
We would love to hear from you so if you have any comments, please send them through.
29 April 2019