A Guide to the Change Management Process

What Change Management Entails

What is successful change management? Simply put, effective change management is about delivering the results defined in a business case. It is the organizational work that helps deliver that return on investment and supports business continuity during the transition. We split change management into two tracks: organizational change and people transition.

Red Clover OCPT Model

Organizational change and people transition infographic.

The Process

Our proven process for managing organizational change focuses on shifting behaviors and creating the structures that support the business change. 

Resistance to change is largely predictable. Our OCPT model is a set of coordinated activities that identifies and mitigates this resistance. The two tracks are interrelated, working together to address both sides of change.

Organizational Change

The Organizational Change process track aims to drive the behavior changes required to support the business change.

We start with Lead. Lead is all about leadership alignment, communication planning, and stakeholder management. Who are the change leaders? Who might block the change? How do we reach them? What are their preferred communication channels? How will the change affect culture and values?

The goal of this step is to articulate what we are changing, how we will do it and why it’s important. The outcome is a set of deliverables that are adapted and used for the duration of the initiative or project.

Next comes Design. Design addresses the change readiness of the current organization and its people compared to the design of the future organization. What are the new organizational structures – How do job descriptions need to change? What behavioral competencies will be needed? What kind of leaders will we need? How will we build the talent that’s needed to meet the change goals? 

The purpose of design is not only to determine the future state of the organization but also to identify the gaps in the current organization.  We also work to identify the people who are able to create the knowledge transfer, training and coaching programs to close the gaps.

Once design is completed, we move to Develop. Develop is focused on the activities needed to prepare individuals for the future organization. What career development plans need to be put in place for key resources? Who are we targeting for change and what behaviors are we looking to develop to support that change? Is there training that needs to take place before the project is completed? What happens later, as new processes are integrated into the business? And critically, what knowledge transfer work needs to be done in order for the change to be successful? 

At the end of the Develop stage, the future state of the organization should be clearly defined and people have been introduced to their new roles and ways of working.

Finally, we move to Align.  Some of the work here is started in Design, where we began by identifying what good looks like. Now we ask questions like what KPIs need to be defined to track benefits realization. For individuals, we begin to look at changes to performance development processes, goals setting and compensation planning to reward that success. At an organizational level, we look at policies, procedures and overall governance and decision making models to ensure they are aligned with goals and objectives related to the change we are implementing.

People Transition

The People Transition process track aims to establish the structure, processes and key management decisions needed to move people from the current organization to the new one.

  1. Launch is the first step in the PT side of the process and focuses on establishing the transition management team that will be responsible for leading the change project. Who are the thought leaders in the organization? Who are the best performers who can take the lead in driving change and ensuring buy in from other key stakeholders? How can we best support the transition team in communicating effectively internally and externally?

    The purpose is to establish the management team that will drive the overall project and business change. They are responsible and accountable for the benefits realization of the project and ensuring business continuity, which is key to a successful implementation.
  1. Define focuses on identifying and defining the rules, key decisions, and other guidelines that must be known, understood and followed for the people transition to be successful. What employment law considerations need to be considered? Is there a collective agreement in place that will restrict who can move and how the transition takes place? What communication support role can the union play? Are there other initiatives taking place in the business that could have an impact on the project? The outcome is the set of guidelines and rules that frame the financial business case.
  2. Next is Retain where we identify the critical skills and key individuals required for knowledge transfer and business continuity. Who has the critical skills identified in OC Design? Will we retain them or transfer that knowledge to others in the organization? We plan the transition to ensure that knowledge is transferred from the current organization to the new one. How and when that knowledge is transferred depends on whether current employees will stay, be redeployed elsewhere in the organization or will leave. In any of these scenarios, we evaluate the resource management measures needed to ensure skills retention for whatever duration needed. 

    The outcome at this stage in the project is the description of who will be retained, the incentives and agreements to support retention and estimates for transition costs, including redeployment, redundancy, outplacement, attrition, and early retirement.
  1. Sustain is about maintaining the future organization on an ongoing basis. What are the ongoing recruiting needs? How will workforce planning and headcount tracking be managed? What will be the pay policies, job banding, compensation planning requirements? In terms of development, career and succession planning will now shift to more standardized organizational processes, generally managed on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Why is Change Management Important?

Most projects don’t actually achieve the results that they promise. They don’t fail because they aren’t good ideas; they fail because the people involved with and impacted by the change don’t believe in it… or don’t understand it… or, and in every case, are afraid of it. People hate change. There’s an old saying that the only kitchen that you’ll ever love is the one you design yourself. The same is true for change at work: our jobs, our goals, our revenue models, our IT systems, whatever it is. All change is bad when you don’t decide it yourself. The same is true for your people. So, if you don’t try to explain what’s happening, how it’s happening and why it’s happening, they’ll put their feet up against the wall and push. You won’t won’t win. You can’t.

In large organizations, they “declare it a success and move on”. For the small and mid sized organization, that’s not an option. 

Setting You Up for a Successful Change

Red Clover specializes in organizational change management. Our consultants come from people management roles and are highly experienced in leading change. We are subject matter experts in strategic and operational human resources. We understand the hands on, fast-moving culture that dominates mid-sized organizations. Reach out to us and contact us today! We are agile, practical and work side by side – as your partner – to help you drive your business forward.

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The Results

Tech Companies

A 70 headcount pharmaceutical technology firm needed support in company culture alignment and integrating company core values in business interactions internally and with external customers. As a leader in medical software, there was also a need to guarantee legal and regulatory compliance in every aspect of the business, especially as it scaled to serve an expanding customer base.

See The Full Case Study

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