by Colleen Kettenhofen

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
~ Charles Kettering

In business, buzzwords and phrases are created and then, too often, tossed around. However, without really understanding a word or phrase, it’s unrealistic to expect a person (or an organization as a whole) to properly utilize the theory behind it. “Change management” is one such buzz phrase. Where did the term “change management” come from and what exactly does it mean?

Change Management by Definition

In its simplest form, change management centers on a structured approach to facilitate individuals, teams or organizations making the transition from a current position to a future desired position. This all-encompassing term can include not only the tools (techniques, models, methods, etc.) to literally manage change, but also the control mechanisms (processes and procedures) involved in ensuring the change happens as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Change Management: A Brief History

Change management began in the 1980s, as organizations, in an increasingly globalized and increasingly competitive world, began to understand the top-down method of change that had been successful in the past just wasn’t working. The workforce had begun to change, from employees who spent their entire careers within one organization, to tenures averaging less than five years!

More organic organizational structures were put in place, to allow companies to be more nimble and agile. With this, change no longer had the bureaucratic, pyramidal org chart to rely upon as structure. Instead, change needed new support and in entered change management tools and mechanisms, and the industry that has since developed to offer these services to organizations.

The Change Management Process

Change management can be broken down into three basic phases:

  • Phase 1 – Preparation for Change – During this “prep phase,” you define your change management strategies – what do you hope to accomplish, what tools and mechanisms are you going to use to reach the culmination of this change. This is also the time where you need to establish a change management team, employees who will spearhead the campaign for change, implement the change strategies and monitor its progress. Lastly, during Phase 1, you need to develop your sponsorship model. Getting early buy-in from executives and other business leaders is critical to change success!
  • Phase 2 – Manage the Change – During the second phase of the change management process, your change management plans are fully developed. You know who is implementing the change and what tools are going to be used, and the change is then implemented. The changes you desire start to come to fruition.
  • Phase 3 – Reinforce the Change – We are creatures of habit. This phase investigates and addresses any resistance to the change implemented, while also collecting and analyzing feedback to ensure the change not only has been fully implemented, but also has the desired effects you had anticipated. If need be, corrective actions can be taken to further improve upon the change or change management process you’ve adopted.

 Once these three phases have been completed and the change has fully taken effect, you can then celebrate your change management success!

 About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (971) 212-0479.