What is the People Side of Change?

Change happens in your organization every day.  New initiatives and projects are implemented to improve performance, increase competitiveness, decrease costs (Lean waste), increase revenue and maximize resource utilization.  The success of these efforts depends on willingness and ability of people to implement the new solution.

Done well change management helps you realize the expected benefits of these initiatives with minimal disruption, delays and costs.   Done poorly 85% of these efforts fail to achieve their intended improvements.  Implementing new technologies and methods is one thing; ensuring that the people who must use the new system are ready and able is where most change efforts fail.

Change ultimately requires individuals to shift how they think about, perform and manage their work.  Helping employees make the transition from how things are today to fully adopting and utilizing the new way is the primary goal of change management.  Change normally creates uncertainty, stress and fear about the future.  What will happen to me and will I be able to adjust, learn and survive the transition.

Change management provides a structure to help people through the transition.  It works to prepare, equip and support people as they face the unknowns, develop confidence and build commitment to the effort.  Moving people up the change adoption curve means providing them with the right information, involvement, training and coaching at the right time in the project life-cycle.

If people fail to transition change initiatives quickly get into trouble.  They question the need for the change, defend the status quo, criticize the solution, delay the implementation and resist attempts to “push” them forward.  When a majority of employees resist the change, the cost can be significant.  Delays, errors, conflict, rework, restarts can all undermine the solution.

Change management provides the tools and frameworks to help groups of people to successfully manage the transition.  It starts by focusing on a core set of change levers – leadership alignment, employee engagement, communication, training, coaching and support networks etc.  By identifying the key groups who are impacted by a change, strategies and plans can be generated to help people adopt the solution with minimal resistance and disruption.