Change Management is a new specialty that is cropping up due to the merger of so many companies today. The specialty helps corporations migrate individuals or groups from one way of doing business to another. Thus the term, Change Management.
Change is the only constant, and we, humans, don't like it. That's a given. However there are ways to get over change. One of the most effective methods of moving through change is with a helping hand. Someone that you can call upon to discuss just about every aspect of change. Whether that be the difficulty that you're having in understanding how to complete your tasks in the new business practices or the emotional stress that it's causing since you seem to be flailing in an ocean, due to a lack of understanding.
No matter where you are in the process of change as a corporation, group or individual a Change Manager listens to you, supports you, understand where you need to get to, and helps you get there as quickly and easily as possible.
Change Management should not be confused with an IT Professional, Customer Support or Technical Support. A Change Manager works with these groups to help them focus on what they need to do, while the Change Manager focuses on retraining, bridging gaps in understanding, and listening to your frustration(s).
Some examples of our different roles:
When IT rolls out a new software package for you to use, how do you feel? While it is an IT specialists job to manage the desktop software the corporation uses, sometimes the roll outs come with changes that upset the user population. This is be expected, and can be managed. The responsibility of managing that upset should not be that of an IT Professional though.
While many users are left frustrated after a roll out occurs, these frustrations are usually directed to Customer Support or Technical Support, and ultimately wind up in the lap of IT professionals who lack communication and interpersonal skills needed to listen, understand and help the user. This is a bad combination since the user is upset and the IT Professional is incapable of separating themselves from ownership of the problem while helping the user overcome the problem. The user is usually found saying, "Well you guys changed this last night, and now I can't get my work done! It's all your fault!" This scenario usually ends up with the IT professional blaming the employee as being stubborn, and the employee labeling the IT Professional as being insensitive.
Customer Support or Technical Support should be charged with just focusing on providing support for specific technical issues. For example, I can't log into my computer, or I can't access the email server, or I need access to a file on server _____.
What a Change Manager does is come in before, during and/or after the roll out to understand the human aspect of change. How do you feel about this new software package, how will this affect your work - make it easier or make it harder, what do you need to know in order to adjust to this new package, what fears do you have, what would make you feel more comfortable, are there questions, concerns, thoughts and issues that could be addressed before the role out that would help you, and so on, until you are back to working again on your own.
From this perspective a Change Manager is both a facilitator and a coach. We listen to what the needs of the corporation, group, and individual need, we listen to where you are, and we build a program that will get you there. When you agree to that program, we use bench marks, just like a coach would, to make sure that you're moving towards your target goals. At the same time we are listening to you all during this process to understand what is block you from achieving that goal, just as a facilitator would.
While new software roll outs will hit home with most users, merging two or more companies thought will really frustrate the rest. New business practices and policies must be merged, learned and implemented corporate wide. It is during this time that a Change Manager should be involved. In this situation a Change Manager can review the business practices of both organizations and help everyone involved work towards the new set of business practices. A simplified example of this would be to help employees understand how the business process has changed. How yesterday they used to request time off by filling out a slip of paper, to today they are now making that same request through an Intranet. This example really hits home with elderly employees who's ability to transition is compromised by their ability to remember new material because they have been doing the same old thing for so long.
Finally, a Change Manager works most effectively by providing direct one on one support or training based on the clients needs at the time to get through the process of understanding how they are to take what they have done in the past and transition all that knowledge to a new way of doing it. When looking for a Change Manager, focus on a particular software packages and business practices that will need to updated. A Change Manager that is knowledgeable of these areas will be more efficient than one who has a learning curve.