A change is described by the passage from one state to another : from situation A to situation B. Depending on its nature, duration or intensity, it is also called evolution, transformation or improvement. Every company or organization will one day have to evolve and deal with change management.

Some changes are more or less brutal, disruptive and considered violent by the teams in place… The current economic situation forces companies to maintain a more continuous and permanent level of change in order to face the constant evolution of our society, to increase their skills and to reinvent themselves. The objective of change management is to facilitate the management of changes induced by the implementation of a transformation project and to limit the risk factors of resistance and rejection. It is therefore a major challenge for success.

Today, many very good projects fail because not enough attention is paid to change management and its acceptance by the actors and stakeholders. To better understand the stakes of change management for your company, let’s take a look at the key stages of its construction and what it involves. 

Change: a major impact for the company

A change is above all a turbulent zone from which everyone tries to emerge without a hitch. However, it is possible to anticipate, prepare and build an effective change policy by integrating all stakeholders in the project well before its implementation.

The risk of not anticipating this type of upheaval within a company is that it will have a negative impact on your organization in the broadest sense. This “shockwave” will spread to all areas of your company. It is important to deal with each of these aspects so that this poorly conducted change does not affect a group of people, or an individual within your organization. To do this, there are a number of theories and methods that make up the literature on change management.

In order to take action and better understand the management of change within your company, we identify 3 main phases. 

  • The analysis phase
  • The action phase
  • The steering phase

Change management: the analysis phase

In the diagnostic phase, also called the analysis phase, the idea is to think about and qualify the change. It is a matter of “understanding” the type of change, the stakes involved, the company, its context, its culture and its social norms. You will also have to define who are the actors of this project and the stakeholders of this change.

Finally, you will measure the impacts that these changes may imply in order to identify the levers to be used and the risks of resistance that may result from them.

How to take action?

In the action phase, two activities can be identified: The instrumentalized and formalized actions that are well known in change management.

They refer to communication and training actions. But there are also actions with more managerial axes which are: participation, involvement and support.

In summary, taking action in the context of change management implies that all parties involved in the project have the same level of information, and if necessary, have an upgrade and training to deal with this change. In addition, the manager and his or her team must be involved from start to finish in this process and be attentive to any blockages.

This is all that will make the difference between an action perceived as imposed (done for a team without its agreement) or co-constructed (done with a team and for it).

Define your action plan

Controlling and guiding or leading towards the construction of a project that does not yet exist is the role of creating an efficient action plan that will limit resistance.

According to John Kotter, a leading author on change management, there are 4 reasons for resistance:

The loss of individual interest

Why would anyone want to change if they feel they are being shortchanged or losing out? Indeed, a change is often not initiated according to individual problems but in relation to a global company strategy.

Lack of understanding 

It is difficult to adhere to a change if one does not understand its objective. This is why communication and the co-construction of a project immediately makes it more feasible on an individual level.

The fear of not being up to the task

A change is an unknown situation. Indeed, the protagonists can feel doubts about their skills, because they know their value at a given moment and in a context already defined. The impossibility of projecting oneself in a new context then generates a sometimes painful questioning of one’s capacities to evolve in this announced change.

The difficulty itself to change

If moving from one situation to another requires too much effort, compared to the perceived benefits, our involvement will often be low: not commensurate with the envisaged benefit. Getting out of your comfort zone, changing your routine and habits is not easy.

How to manage a change well?

Change is something that must be planned and piloted. Communication, training, involvement and support actions must be “coordinated” at the right time, by the right people and with the right objective.

The impact of these actions must then be measured to determine the level of understanding, motivation, support and ownership of the change project by the teams and the various players. Quite a program!

Halfway between psychology, sociology, strategy, management and administration… Change management is a fascinating subject that is all too often put aside before the launch of a new project. Yet it is the cornerstone on which success undoubtedly depends.

Colever can help you master this skill, which is essential to the successful implementation of major structural changes in your organization. If you would like to know more, please contact us.