Change Management: a Love-Hate Relationship – Part 1

Change management is a process that sometimes gets tagged as bureaucratic or too difficult to follow. Questions raised within IT may include: Why does it take so long to introduce a change? Why is the change manager asking so many questions? Why does this change require the involvement of all stakeholders?

I’ve been to a number of organizations; it’s very rare for me to find one where the change manager is loved. As someone once told me: “If you are carrying out the role of a change manager and loved by everyone, you should be very concerned.” 

I think all change managers reading this would agree that at some point you have been seen as public enemy number one. The role of change manager is difficult because at all times your job is first and foremost to protect the interests of the business. Going back to the questions raised earlier, it may take a long time to introduce a change as more information may first be required to protect the interests of the business, such as costs, risks, etc.; you need to ask more questions to ascertain how this change will impact the business; and you need to get all stakeholders involved to secure their acceptance of the change, which in turn helps make the transition successful.

Change managers are not asking to be loved but rather to be understood.  We want to avoid the situation where, at some point, a number of staff come to resent the new process. So how do we win staff over to the new process?

You need to concentrate on the bigger picture. Think about anything you may introduce into your organization that will impact the organizational culture, such as other processes, tools, and relationships with stakeholders—including third parties. The key is to then manage those elements throughout the transition, as well as after the change has been implemented. Both are equally important to your success, though the latter is sometimes forgotten.

In my next blog post, we’ll look at common emotional reactions IT staff often go through during the change management process, and what we as change managers can do to manage them.

Hitesh Patel

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