What Is Change Management?

4 min

Don’t let change bug you. Practice change management techniques to improve your work and support your team.

Change comes in a lot of forms at work. This includes mergers and acquisitions, changes in leadership, changes in organizational structure, implementing new technologies, or unexpected crises.

Although these changes sound unpredictable or even messy, you can manage elements of these events for a smooth transition.

Change management is a controlled, systematic approach to dealing with changes at work. It’s not just reacting to change like rescheduling a meeting when people say they can’t make it.

Change management is made up of four elements:

  1. Identifying all aspects and effects of change
  2. Communicating change to your team
  3. Strategizing with your team
  4. Measuring the success of your strategy

According to scholar Benham Tabrizi, middle managers are the key to companies successfully executing change.

So let’s take a closer look at the four elements of change management.

1. Identify all aspects and effects of change

Here’s an example. You work in HR at your company, and your manager tells you the automated hiring system needs to be updated because it isn’t pulling in the right pool of candidates for open positions.

To manage this change, you can ask your manager who would be impacted by this update, who should be involved with carrying out the update, and when it should be completed by. This way, you’ll have as many details as possible when you communicate change to your team.

2. Communicate change to your team

Here’s a different example. One of your employees unexpectedly leaves your team and you’ll have to delegate their tasks to others.

To communicate this change, you can hold a team meeting where you discuss your plans for delegating tasks, invite employees to ask questions, and acknowledge their emotional reactions to this change. When you do this, your team avoids bigger challenges which might mitigate burn out for everyone.

3. Strategize with your team

Let’s say your manager tells you your team’s old project files must be organized by a certain deadline.

You could manage this change by speaking with your employees and working with them to develop a strategy to meet that deadline. This not only gets the job done but establishes accountability on your team so your employees are invested in this project.

4. Measure the success of your strategy

Finally, let’s say the budget for a project your team is working on was decreased so you cut down certain areas of the project to stay on budget.

To check if this strategy worked, you can hold a post-mortem with your team and stakeholders to evaluate the processes and end product.

Three benefits of managing change include increased leadership skills, decreased team burn out, and increased company success.

Time for a quiz.

Everyone at Tatiana’s company received an email from HR asking some employees to work in the office while others are expected to work from home. Multiple members of her team have asked her questions about this. What should she do first?

Quiz 1 of 1

What should Tatiana do first?

She should tell them to ask HR since they made the decision and should be handling the transition
She should set up 1:1 meetings and answer questions.
She should set up a meeting with HR to ask questions and gather as much information as possible.
She should set up a team meeting to answer questions and create a strategy for transitioning to remote work.

The correct answer is C.
She should set up a meeting with HR to ask questions and gather as much information as possible.

First, Tatiana should gather as many details as possible. Then, she can set up a team meeting to communicate change to her team and allow them to ask questions as a group in case some of them have the same questions. 

Consider this. 

Think about a time when change affected you at work. Consider how your reactions impacted your success. If you could go back, what would you do differently?

“Change is the only constant in life.”

- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher.

Lesson complete