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Change Management 101: An executive guide to change management

Change Management 101: An executive guide to change management

A few painstaking steps offer numerous payoffs

What are the business benefits of change management?

Even a semi-serious attempt at instituting change management is going to take the valuable time of several of your organisation's most valuable employees. Inevitably someone will ask whether all this process stuff is worth the trouble. It more than likely is when you consider the various payoffs.

For starters, change management helps to lower risks associated with change, eliminate resource conflicts and redundancies, and learn from successes and mistakes of the past — all of which help CIOs and other senior managers to save money.

Change management comes with a smattering of strategic benefits as well. Done correctly, these processes will provide a comprehensive picture of the organisation-wide impact of change and enable managers to make contingency plans based on real-time project status.

Finally, change management can offer a backdoor means to achieving the near-universal goals of increased internal teamwork and external end-user satisfaction. This is somewhat counterintuitive, as anything related to the word “process” often connotes a soul-sucking onrush of flowcharts, checklists and, worst of all, endless meetings. But the fact is, when everyone is in the loop and projects become more orderly affairs, teams are happier and often produce better, more customer-friendly results.

What is a change control board, and who exactly belongs on it?

Inspect any worthwhile change-management flow chart and you will notice that the process invariably involves at least one stop at a change control board.

Let's enunciate what this board is not. It's not a bureaucratic purgatory where good ideas go to die. Nor is it a parking lot for your junior varsity-level performers who aren't quite cutting it in their regular jobs.

Rather, creating a change control board is about making sure that good ideas have the best chances of success. Accordingly, the team should review all change requests based on completeness, organisational readiness, business impact and business need. Other responsibilities include scheduling the change, communicating the change to all affected parties and coordinating user training.

It's the sort of rigorous, multifaceted work that often requires a diverse array of top talent drawn from around the organisation. Depending on the nature of your business, it can be reasonable to seek representation from finance, operations, engineering, sales, service, IT and other units. Picking some of your best and brightest to staff the board comes with an important secondary benefit as well: Namely, the rest of your organisation is far more likely to accept the edicts of the board if it is mostly made up of the A-listers whom everyone respects.


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