What does the Change Management Process really look like? (The Definitive Guide)

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    Home / Growth / What does the Change Management Process really look like? (The Definitive Guide)

    Remember Nokia? Sure you do.

    In October 1998, Nokia overtook Motorola and became the world's most popular mobile phone brand.

    From 1995 to 1999, Nokia's operating profit went from $1 billion to over $4 billion.

    In 2003, the Nokia 1100 model became the best-selling mobile phone of all time.

    Then in 2007, the first iPhone was released.

    They don't make phones like this anymore 😔

    By the end of 2007, half of all smartphones sold in the world were Nokias, while Apple’s iPhone had only a 5% market share. Nokia's market value dropped by over 90% in only six years.

    By 2011, Nokia's decline had accelerated, and the company had been bought by Microsoft in 2013.

    Why did this happen? 

    They refused to change for the better.

    All of this could have been averted by implementing a change process.

    Many companies are unable to achieve their full potential because they are unsure about the outcome of change. Processes that are no longer in use linger far too long at the price of growth.

    Now, you are probably thinking: “How do I make sure I am not one of those companies?

    Well, by using implementing a change management process.

    Let’s take a look.

    What is a Change Management Process?

    A change management process is a set of strategies designed to ensure a smooth transition from one state of things to another without disrupting the workflow or causing damage. When implementing change in a company context, there is always a change management process, however, it is up to the companies to ensure it is a successful one.

    Why? Because the business landscape is rapidly changing.

    In the long term, a company that fails to adapt to changing demands becomes outdated and loses out.

    Take the Blackberry mobile phone brand for example. Due to its failure to adapt touchscreen technology, the once-dominant smartphone, which had over 80 million users globally, only had a 0.2% market share in 2016.

    Undoubtedly, change is necessary for business survival.

    Many companies are aware of the need for change, yet they lack the knowledge to properly implement it. Things can fall through the gaps in the process, resulting in irreparable damage.

    Organizational change management is a step-by-step change process that a company uses to ensure that changes in important areas are properly handled without affecting operations. Work ethic, company culture, business procedures, internal processes, operations, corporate hierarchy are just some of them.

    How does a change management process affect your company?

    A successful change management process involves the following:

    • Prevention of accidents
    • Improved asset reliability
    • Traceability of changes
    • Evaluation of alternative

    A change management process is about managing people. 

    Consider this: who will be in charge of implementing the new procedures? Your employees and the acceptance or rejection of the project by them will have an impact on its outcomes.

    A shift from the norm can sometimes evoke not-so-good reactions from people. 

    Simply because they are afraid of the unknown, most employees would rather choose to do things the same way as they have always done them before trying something new.

    Effective change processes inspire the most efficient employees.

    So it is your job to assist them in overcoming their fear of transitioning by properly managing the change.

    So, the first step in a successful change management process is to ensure that everyone in the organization is on board. If one individual fails to deliver, it has repercussions throughout the company.

    A top-down strategy of making changes in an organization on your own and then forcing the new order on employees is ineffective. Employees may not reject the change directly, but they may be a bit hesitant to push it.

    Remember, people generally have a hard time believing in what they don't understand.

    Therefore, to ensure that each employee understands the "why" behind the change, it’s essential that you explain it to them down to the last detail. Employees who become convinced that the need for change is of paramount importance are more likely to actively engage in all relevant activities, even when they are not required to do so.

    Different Types of Change Management Processes

    Change is a common thing that occurs at many levels, but it requires a variety of techniques to be applied in order to make it effective. 

    Individual change management, organizational change management, and enterprise change management are three fundamental types of change management, so let's take a look at each one of them in more detail:

    Individual Change Management

    Individual change management addresses the people who are affected by change.

    In order to manage people effectively, you must first understand them.


    And by creating a psychological strategy to appeal to your employees' emotions on a more personal level, you can achieve this goal.

    Organizational Change Management

    Individual change management extends to organizational change management.

    So, you've succeeded in meeting your employees' psychological needs in order to get them to buy into your change plan. Now it's time to properly address the basic workplace issues identified.

    Are existing processes or practices in your business hinder the change process you're trying to implement?

    Resolve those issues first to avoid facing any potential roadblocks in the process and arm your employees with the skills they'll need to complete their new tasks successfully.

    Enterprise Change Management

    From the top-down, enterprise change management handles every aspect of the company, some of which are leadership and management roles, structures, processes, and procedures.

    With every department operating independently yet having to cooperate for the shared purpose, one problem can have a negative impact on the entire organization.

    Therefore, if you strive for an agile change management process, make sure that all of your departments are equally involved in the change process and that everything is tied together.

    essential steps of a change management process

    9 Essential Steps of a Successful Change Management Process

    When it comes to change management, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

    Although the factors that contribute to change may vary depending largely on a company, the fundamental concept of a successful change management process remains the same.

    Here are 9 essential steps for a successful change management process:

    1. Define your goals

    The first step in the change management process is to determine your ultimate goals.

    In order to establish clear and specific goals, you need to understand where your company is now and where you want it to be in the future.

    If your goal contradicts your company's vision, your change management process will be doomed from the start. Your company may evolve over time, but sticking to its vision can help you maintain your identity and uniqueness.

    2. Get buy-in from your management team

    It's not a good idea to take on the change management process solo. 

    Even if you have all the information and technical know-how, you cannot implement change on your own. 

    To get things rolling, you'll need the help of your management team.

    Begin by outlining the most common problems in your company that the change process you want to implement will solve. 

    3. Select key players

    A change management process is a large and complex undertaking, which requires the support of everyone in your business. 

    You will need to have several key players actively driving change across different departments and levels within your organization if you want it to succeed.

    These people are like managers for each area that they oversee; they help coordinate operations at the micro level so everything can run smoothly during this time period when there's too much uncertainty going on internally. 

    Have an honest conversation with these individuals about what their roles entail and make sure they're ready before kickoff!

    4. Communicate your vision to the entire team

    The next stage is to get the buy-in from everyone in your company.

    It's not the best strategy to force everyone to buy-in to the change plan just because you're the boss.

    When people buy-in to your plan because they share your vision, that’s when you'll ensure the best results.

    Share your vision with passion. Be receptive to suggestions, since team members may have good ideas that you hadn't thought about.

    5. Get rid of roadblocks

    Now that you've gotten everyone on board, you need to make sure there aren't any roadblocks in your way; otherwise, your team won't be able to perform at its best.

    • What old procedures or systems must be wiped out to create room for new ones?
    • Do you need to invest in new equipment to implement the system?
    • Is it necessary for your team members to be trained in new skills to complete tasks in the new system?
    • Do you need to reassign team members' roles and duties?

    Once you have found the answers to these questions, you can easily remove the roadblocks out of your change process’ way.

    6. Break your goal into milestones

    Chances are that, if your ultimate change goal is big or something you've never attempted before then it can feel impossible to achieve. 

    That's why setting small milestones and achieving them one by one will not only make the journey more enjoyable but also give everyone involved a sense of accomplishment with each new success - which in turn fuels our energy for doing even better!

    7. Prepare for early wins

    During a change management process, early victories inspire employees, motivating them to work more since they see that their efforts are paying off. However, when people's early efforts seem like a waste of time, the opposite is true. 

    Make sure you start with an attainable goal and engage team members who play critical roles in reaching those goals to get the most out of their efforts.

    8. Track your progress

    A change management process requires extensive planning, coordination, control, and evaluation

    To reach your goal, all these elements must be in harmony. Because of this, you must keep an eye on how things are progressing.

    Are you taking an excessive amount of time to reach your goals? What is causing the delay if that is the case? Are there still stumbling blocks in your company?

    After a few weeks or months, your enthusiasm and that of your team members will most likely start to fade. To keep your team motivated, have regular meetings with them.

    No change process went well without frequent communication.

    9. Improve continuously

    Change is a never-ending process.

    After you've accomplished your goal, don't grow complacent. Instead, constantly evaluate and improve your current business processes. You will be able to detect any potential bottlenecks that may develop as a result of the new system you are implementing if you do so.

    So, keep the change process running.

    To maintain stability and consistency throughout the whole organization, incorporate the changes you've made into your organizational culture.

    change management process challenges

    The Common Challenges of a Change Process

    Organizational changes commonly refer to determined efforts by organizations to streamline their operations or they can be related to the course of action in unavoidable circumstances; whichever case may be, it comes with its own set up of roadblocks that we must navigate around for success.

    Let’s look at some challenges that companies commonly face when managing a change that may come in useful when you hit a roadblock.

    Managing multiple teams

    A single team may not be enough to carry out all the tasks required during the change management process. So, multiple teams with different responsibilities will need to work together in order for things to go smoothly.

    But, managing multiple teams can be very challenging.

    To make sure everything runs smoothly and nobody falls through the cracks, create standard operating procedures (SOPs) and use effective change management tools like checklists and project timelines so each person knows exactly what needs to be done when the time comes for them to do it - no matter how small a part they play!

    Managing rising changes in multiple areas

    A change in one aspect of your organization may have an impact on the others, resulting in a whole slew of other problems to handle. You might well find yourself going in circles if you aren't careful enough.

    To prevent problems in different areas, your change management process must be thorough and consistent at all levels within the organization.

    To do so effectively,  you'll need an all-encompassing workflow system that allows everyone involved in the change process to have access to project reports, current tasks, and conversations.

    Communication breakdown

    The change management process necessitates regular communication and the updating of the company's business procedures.

    To minimize information failure, accurate and complete data must be shared with the team regularly, and updated documentation must be available to all the parties involved at all times.

    Adopt a workflow tool that has simple business process documentation features so you can easily make a record of each procedure and communicate it to your team.

    Employee resistance

    It's normal if some of your employees aren't enthusiastic about the change. Change is something that people are naturally resistant to.

    Indifference, rejection, doubt, neutrality, experimentation, and commitment are six phases that make up change.

    So how do you deal with it? 

    With patience.

    Determine the level of employee readiness and allow them enough time to pass through each stage appropriately.

    Correcting failing change systems

    Effective change management entails following recommended principles to the degree, yet the outcome may not always meet your expectations.

    Is it possible for you to undo the changes you've made?

    Yes and no.

    Without a well-thought-out change management strategy and a tool to keep track of your work, retracing your steps may become a difficult task.

    However, accepting failure and going for a better change process is always possible and recommended in times of failure. Remember: you haven’t lost, you just failed.

    Obtaining instant approvals

    Before you use your new systems, be sure they've been thoroughly tested and approved by the relevant parties. Depending on the nature of your business, the evaluation may be conducted by internal or external employees.

    The best method to keep your business operations running is to automate the approval process. An efficient workflow system can alert employees to pending approvals and keep reminding them until the approvals are completed.

    Here are additional articles about change management:

    1- What is McKinsey’s 7-S Change Management Model and how to use it

    2- What is Kotter’s 8 Step Change Management Model (All you need to know)


    Recognizing the need for change and putting it into action at the right moment are critical for business survival and development. Failure to adapt to changing company demands might result in you losing ground to the competition, and I am pretty sure that’s something you wouldn't want to happen. 

    Remember, change may be difficult, but with a good change management process in place, it can be a lot easier!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a change management process?

    A change management process is a set of strategies designed to ensure a smooth transition from one state of things to another without disrupting the workflow or causing damage.

    What are the different types of change management?

    Individual change management, organizational change management, and enterprise change management are three fundamental types of change management.

    Why is making a diagnosis a critical part of a change management plan?

    The aim of a diagnosis is to discover problems and determine the reasons for their occurrence so that management can find solutions.

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