written by: Jean Scheid
• edited by: Linda Richter
• updated: 1/13/2011
Just as the seasons change, so will the elements of your projects, organization, roles, and processes. To handle change effectively, what are the key success factors in change management? Here, we take a look at the best practices of this management system.
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Factors in Change Management
Singer/songwriter (and daughter of singer Johnny Cash) Rosanne Cash once said, “The key to change is to let go of fear.” This statement is so true in the world of change management. Along with the old standards such as “change is inevitable,” and “no one likes change,” perhaps the fear of change should be forefront when dealing with factors that will affect your processes, projects, and your organization as a whole.
To make changes seamlessly, there are some key success factors in change management that you can implement ahead of time.
Whether your change is foreseen or unexpected, consider using some of these steps to help increase your chances of succeeding:
Change Team – Many organizations skip this key factor in change management. A change team that is trained in analyzing and dealing with change (seen or unseen) is your best tool. Make sure your change team understands the human element including resistance to change. A good change team should also be able to quickly define the change and have resources in place to deal with the change. Good candidates for your change team are those that possess great leadership skills including soft skills.
Change Control Plan – Your change team should take the time to develop a change control plan. More than not, a well researched and written change control plan can be uniform with only minor modifications needed depending upon the type of change. Find a free change control plan in our Media Gallery.
Change Communication – Another key success factor in change management is the ability to keep the lines of communication regarding the change open and accessible. Change that is discussed at only top levels and never discussed with everyone involved can spell disaster. Learn how to write an effective communication plan that is accessible to everyone who will be affected by the change.
Change Meetings – In today’s varied workforce, generational issues and misunderstandings can harm the changes that must be made. Even if some meetings are in place as a venue for those to “vent,” you’ll have better success if scheduled meetings are set, with timelines and agendas as well as free-speak sessions.
Change Monitoring – Your change team can’t just drop the ball once the change is introduced. They need to monitor the change until it’s no longer considered new or untried. Change monitoring includes training, analyzing the results of change, and hand-holding throughout the change.
Change Review – The final key success factor in change management is to review your change process from time to time. You should make sure your change control plan can be easily modified to fit the change need as well as take a look at your change team to ensure its members are staying on top of past issues or possible revisions to your process.
Because fear of change does indeed exist, it’s best to stay ahead of the game, especially when it comes to your change process. Prepare for the unexpected, use mind-mapping techniques to brainstorm, and understand how the human element affects any change. All of these will help you deal with change more effectively and efficiently.