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Introduction to Theory and Practice of Change Management

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Factors Common to Successful Change Management

Introduction

Introduction

This module presents a best practice guide, designed to give general guidance to public sector bodies undertaking change. The guide presented in this module is not intended to be prescriptive nor exhaustive.

A ’one-size-fits-all’ approach to managing change is ineffective, as each public sector organization is different. The characteristics of each change also influence the way change is planned and effectively managed.

Despite the range of approaches to change management, some common factors for delivering successful change exist.

These factors apply across all large and complex organizations, whether public or private and will be discussed throughout this module.

Introduction - Continued

The guide presented in this module is intended as a tool to disseminate ideas and best practice guidance on these common change success factors and the sorts of actions that public sector organizations can undertake to address them.

It has been compiled based on research of change management literature and lessons learnt from change management projects all over the world.

Change Management – Overview

Change can be a time of exciting opportunity for some and a time of loss, disruption or threat for others.

How such responses to change are managed can be the difference between surviving and thriving in a work or business environment. Change is an inherent characteristic of any organization and like it or not, all organizations whether in the public or private sector must change to remain relevant.

Change can originate from external sources through technological advances, social, political or economic pressures, or it can come from inside the organization as a management response to a range of issues such as changing client needs, costs or a human resource or a performance issue.

It can affect one small area or the entire organization. Nevertheless, all change whether from internal or external sources, large or small, involves adopting new mindsets, processes, policies, practices and behavior.

Change Management – Overview (Continued)

Change can be a time of exciting opportunity for some and a time of loss, disruption or threat for others.

In its most simple and effective form, change management involves working with an organization’s stakeholder groups to help them understand what the change means for them, helping them make and sustain the transition and working to overcome any challenges involved.

From a management perspective it involves the organizational and behavioral adjustments that need to be made to accommodate and sustain change.

Fundamentally, the basic goal of all change management is to secure buy-in to the change, and to align individual behavior and skills with the change.

Why is Managing Change Important?

Meeting milestones is not the primary determinant of the success of a change project. Successful change also involves ensuring employees’ capacity to adapt to and work effectively and efficiently in the new environment.

The underlying basis of change management is that people’s capacity to change can be influenced by how change is presented to them.

Their capacity to adapt to change can shrink if they misunderstand or resist the change, causing barriers and ongoing issues.

The rationale is that if people understand the benefits of change, they are more likely to participate in the change and see that it is successfully carried out, which in turn means minimal disruption to the organization.

Factors Common to Successful Change Management

While each public sector organization needs to consider the best way to approach change, certain factors common to successful change management exist.

These factors are outlined in the image below:

Figure 1.1 Factors common to successful change management:

Planning

Defined Governance

Committed Leadership

Informed Stakeholders

Aligned Workforce

Factors Common to Successful Change Management – Continued

The extent to which each of these five factors is exhibited in successful change projects will vary depending on the change involved.

Further, while particular initiatives and projects have a finite timeframe, change is an ongoing process, so it can be hard to identify successful change. Moreover change programs that are initially perceived as a success can later be declared problematic as commitment wanes and people revert to old practices.

In the final analysis, change is successful when it becomes institutionalized and part of "the way we do things around here," and like other processes, benefits from ongoing monitoring to ensure continuous improvement and relevance.

Note

Clearly where large whole of government change is involved the complexities will be increased and each of the factors outlined will require fuller consideration.

In the case of a small, more localized change, the need may be less significant.

END of UNIT

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