Whether you’re new to change management or an old hand, sometimes finding the right method can be tricky.
We know all you really want is a method that’s practical and easy to understand and apply.
We are sharing our experience with people everywhere, so you have the skills and confidence to deliver excellent change.
We’ve combined our decades of experience to come up with this common-sense guide to good change management. But we know that common sense isn’t that common. So, we’ve put some structure and practical steps into it to take you to success.
We’ll start by giving you an introduction to change. Then, we’ll introduce the ABCDE Way to you. Our article authors have got a combined record of over 50 years of project and programme management delivery between us. We’ve been around the block a few times, and we know what we’re talking about.
By the end of ABCDE, we’re confident you’ll have everything you need to have a go yourselves.
We’ll share our war wounds and experience so you can see how to avoid the common pitfalls and where to focus the most effort. We’ll show you how to make sure you’re clear on why you should do this change and, how to get everyone and everything ready to receive it. We hope you enjoy our first chapter.
Let’s start by asking a simple question, what is change? Everybody knows what the word change means, but what do we mean in this context?
Change is an act or a process through which something becomes different. And therefore, change management is managing the process by which something becomes different. Or as I like to call it, common sense. Or, more simply again, ‘structured common sense,’ because that’s what change management is all about.
In our experience working on change programmes for many years, the thing about common sense is, is it’s not that common. I’ve seen many fundamental mistakes made time and time again. It doesn’t need to be that way. That’s why we try and manage through change management.
Or, a combination of all the above.
Most of the change projects that we get involved in will have some element of systems, processes, and people combined to come up with an outcome change.
One of the things I’d like you to remember, is that people don’t always see change positively. That’s one of the key things that we must deal with when we’re doing change management. Recognising that not everyone will be ready for the change is an important thing. It will help you tailor your approach to best suit the situation.
The change curve helps us think about how people react to change and upheaval.
Along the bottom is time and the side axis up is morale, energy, performance, confidence. Some people will experience shock, i.e., “I can’t believe this is happening.”
Then people will get to a point of denial. “It will never happen.”
Then they may experience anger, “It’s not fair.”
They may go through the bargaining stage where, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” Or, “I’ll do something to prevent it.” They might then reach the pit of the change curve, which is the depression point, e.g., “What is the point in this thing?”
But then we start to look forward, rather than look back at what’s happening. We start to get through acceptance and into problem solving and ultimately, engagement and enthusiasm.
The quicker you can get people through the ‘looking back’ stage and onto the looking forward stage, the better from a change management perspective.
Interesting stuff isn’t it; can you relate? Perhaps you’ve moved house recently or experienced a change in your personal life? Even when we can see something good in the change, it can be tricky to process it and accept it. A good method for managing change can make it easier to swallow.
They’re both brought to life with very simple anecdotes about penguins on icebergs and mice and cheese to bring to help understand the change curve and how folk deal with it.
There might be a desire to simplify your business. That might mean complex multiple processes or procedures, organisational designs that people will find hard to understand. You just may want to make that stuff leaner and simpler.
Another reason for change is outgrowing your competitors. We’d all like to do that I’m sure. These days our customers are much more demanding of service. Unless you’re different from the rest, you’re just noise. There’s no differentiating value proposition. “Why should I buy from you?”
So, we may need to do something different that will require us to change our business to stand out amongst our competitors.
You might need to adapt to the market changes around you. The last few years have certainly shown us that! Coming out of the pandemic perhaps we face societal changes and the so-called ‘new normals’ such as more remote working, a greater reliance on service delivery that doesn’t rely on us all being in the same place. We may need to change our business to keep up with market trends. We may wish to improve our business, to make it more desirable, to attract the very best employees and customers. There are loads of great reasons to make changes!
The winners amongst us are the ones that are most adaptable and able to change and embrace it best. The pace of change continues to pick up rapidly. A few years back, change could be quite slow and methodical, now businesses more and more are taking risks in making change quicker, because if they don’t take that risk to make that change, then they’re going to fall behind their competitors.
Be a winner and use our ABCDE method to help you land your change.