“Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago – have the power to change
– aka Shareholders”
– aka CEO”
– aka Executives”
– aka Ministries”
The elections (AGM) is over, and the citizens (the shareholders and customers) have elected (appointed) a new CEO and Management team to run Trinidad and Tobago, a multi billion dollar, multicultural (country) organization for a term of five years. The various Ministries (departments) will be managed by new Ministers (Executives). Each Minister (Executive) and his/her Ministry (department) will have their responsibilities and will be held accountable to the CEO and shareholders of the organization. The first order of business for the new Management Team will be to review the financials to assess the viability of the organization; a vision and mission statement needs to be established.
After 5 years of service – 2010 to 2015, change management is now needed to run the organization effectively, efficiently and to make profits, thereby keeping the shareholders happy.
So what exactly is change management? It is a structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved.
The focus is on the wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they, as individuals move from the current situation to the new one. The change in question could range from a simple process change, to major changes in policy or strategy needed, if the organization is to achieve its full potential.
Understanding Change Management
Theories about how organizations change draw on many disciplines, from psychology and behavioral science, through to engineering and systems thinking. The underlying principle is that change does not happen in isolation – it impacts the whole organization (system) around it, and all the people touched by it.
In order to manage change successfully, it is therefore necessary to attend to the wider impacts of the changes. As well as considering the tangible impacts of change, it’s important to consider the personal impact on those affected, and their journey towards working and behaving in new ways to support the change.
Change management is, therefore, a very broad field, and approaches to managing change vary widely, from organization to organization and from project to project. When someone is tasked with “managing change” (irrespective of whether or not the person subscribes to a particular change management approach), the first question to consider is “what change management actually means in the current situation”. Change management focuses on people, and is about ensuring change is thoroughly, smoothly and lastingly implemented. And to know what that means exactly in the current situation, the Management Team must dig down further to define their specific change management objectives.
Typically, these will cover:
1. Sponsorship: Ensuring there is active sponsorship for the change at a senior executive level within the organization, and engaging this sponsorship to achieve the desired results.
2. Buy-in: Gaining buy-in for the changes from those involved and affected, directly or indirectly.
3. Involvement: Involving the right people in the design and implementation of changes, to make sure the right changes are made.
4. Impact: Assessing and addressing how the changes will affect people.
5. Communication: One cannot stress enough how critical this is for success. Telling everyone who’s affected about the changes.
6. Readiness: Getting people ready to adapt to the changes, by ensuring they have the right information, training and help.
Change Management Activities
Once the Management Team has considered the change management objectives and scope, they will also need to consider the specific tasks. Again, the range of possible activities is broad. It’s a question of working out what will best help them meet the change challenge in hand, as they have defined it in their objectives and scope, and how to work alongside other people’s and projects’ activities and responsibilities.
The essence of this is to identify the tasks that are necessary if they are going to give change the greatest chance of success.
Coming from this, the activities involved in managing change can include:
• Ensuring there is clear expression of the reasons for change, and helping the sponsor communicate this.
• Identifying “change agents” and other people who need to be involved in specific change activities, such as design, testing, and problem solving, and who can then act as ambassadors for change.
• Assessing all the stakeholders and defining the nature of sponsorship, involvement and communication that will be required.
• Planning the involvement and project activities of the change sponsor(s).
• Planning how and when the changes will be communicated, and organizing and/or delivering the communications messages.
• Assessing the impact of the changes on people and the organization’s structure.
• Planning activities needed to address the impacts of the change.
• Ensuring that people involved and affected by the change understand the process change.
• Making sure those involved or affected have help and support during times of uncertainty and upheaval.
• Assessing training needs driven by the change, and planning when and how this will be implemented.
• Identifying and agreeing the success indicators for change, and ensure they are regularly measured and reported on.
Remember, these are just some typical change management activities. Others may be required in Trinidad and Tobago’s specific situation. It will be necessary to plan carefully, and to coordinate with other people involved.
There are bright, “think outside the box” professionals who can assist with making the change management activities a success. The CEO has to choose wisely.