Change Management:
Everything you need to know

Ahh, change. You either love it or hate it. Whatever your personal sentiment,
navigating change is a vital part of any leading organization today.

At SPRING TODAY, we have decades of experience with change management. That’s why we’ve decided to write down everything we know about the topic, including why it’s important and a couple of best practices for successful implementation.
But first, let’s talk definition.

Change management is a systematic and deliberate process to implement change in organizations.

Because simply wishing for change isn’t enough; there are stages to go through and people to involve in order to make a transformation successful. This process is called change management.

If you want to learn more about Change Management, this is a good place to start. We will dive into the following topics:

  • What is change management?
  • Benefits of change management
  • The business case
  • Change management models
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • The role of a change manager

If you’re new to change management, this article will open your eyes to the potential danger zones, as well as the hidden pot(s) of gold at the end of a successful transformation.
Ready to set sail?

What is change management?

Change management is vital in today’s rapidly evolving “VUCA” world, characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Organizations must continuously adapt to stay relevant – whether through business transformations, sustainability initiatives, digital transitions, or evolving leadership styles.

That’s why effective change management is so important, with research indicating that projects with excellent change management are six times (!) more likely to meet their objectives (Prosci, 2020). 

But what is change management, exactly?

Change management is the process of guiding employees, teams and organizations through a transformation.

In contrast to project management, change management primarily focuses on “the people side” of change. How do you make sure people not only accept, but also adopt the changes? 

Before diving into the key benefits and challenges, make sure to gain a complete understanding of the definition of change management first.

“Initiatives with excellent change management are 6 times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management.”
(Prosci, 2020)

Benefits of change management

As mentioned above, change management plays a pivotal role in successful organizational transformations. But beyond the benefits accompanied with reaching your desired outcome, there are multiple added benefits of change management, like:

  • You’re creating a shared vision of the future

  • If done well, your employees will become more engaged

  • Your organization becomes more adept at communication and change leadership

  • You’re more likely to stay within budget and meet the timelines

  • Your organization is honing its change capability

Considering these benefits, it makes sense to view change management as an investment, rather than a cost…

The business case

Despite the overwhelming evidence that change management increases the chance of success, 76% of project managers still need to justify this investment to their top management.

Speaking their language is your best bet to get a sign-off. So create a business case for change management with a clear and thorough cost-benefit analysis.

On the cost side, include the people you need (e.g. change and project managers), the costs of training and events, and the change management materials. 

On the benefits side, think about all the costs that can be avoided and risks that can be mitigated by investing in excellent change management. Also, calculate the impact of change management on these three people-related ROI factors:

  • Speed of adoption: How fast do people adopt the new way of working?
  • Ultimate utilization: What percentage of employees adopt the new way of working?
  • Proficiency: How effective are people at adopting the new way of working?

It is quite a chunk of work to gather this data and compile it into a business case for change, but it’s worth it if it means convincing the leadership team of the added value of change management. Trust us, their buy-in will be essential throughout the transformation.

Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our business case guide and start calculating the impact of change management for your next transformation.

Change management models

More often than not, experienced change managers make use of change management models to facilitate the process.

Why? Change is complex. And we’ve already discussed that the way change is managed matters. There are certain steps to take and people to involve. Luckily, this has all been done before – successfully. No need to reinvent the wheel. A proven change model gets you in a great starting position to implement change.

But which change model should you choose? There are probably about a dozen different change models out there, but only a handful that top change leaders would agree are “must-haves” in their toolbox or bring something new to the table.

These are:

Which model to equip depends on the organization as well as the specific change challenge. Some models are more process driven, while others really center around the people part. By experimenting with a couple of different change models, you can discover which one is the best fit for your organization, or take elements from each and create your own change model.

Besides change management models, there are also a myriad of change management tools and templates available for those who care to look. This will certainly make your job easier. So leverage what’s out there and if needed, mold it for your own organizational context.

What are the biggest challenges?

Don’t get me wrong – at Spring Today, we are obsessed with change management. We love everything about it. At the same time, we recognize the struggles that business leaders have while taking their first (or later) steps.

Common challenges include:

  • One change has not yet been completed and another is already around the corner
  • We need to make a big turnaround with the organization, how do we get people engaged?
  • People don’t understand why the change is needed and are not getting on board
  • Lack of support and model behavior from senior leadership
  • Leadership struggles with getting the message across and bending resistance
  • People are not aligned on the direction we need to go
  • Change was started without embedding sponsorship, change leadership, the right stakeholders and a good program management set-up
  • Within the organization, we face a lack of capabilities for the new way of working
  • We are not achieving our results because of poor adoption

Yes, it’s a big list. In size and substance. Fortunately, an experienced change manager knows how to deal with most – if not all – of these challenges. Let’s take a closer look at the role of a change manager.

The role of a change manager

Change managers are responsible for implementing the desired change in an organization. They are equipped with the necessary change management tools and models, like the ones mentioned above. They know when to select which model, and they can leverage these tools to successfully structure and carry out the change initiative.

But change managers are way more than “practitioners of models”. Change doesn’t happen in isolation. So change managers need to have the interpersonal skills to navigate complex environments with different sets of stakeholders. They need to be able to inspire leaders to show model behavior, while encouraging operators to speak up.  

They need to be empathetic, good listeners, with an almost intuitive sense of what’s going on. Subsequently, they need to be able to substantiate their feelings with data, before turning stats back into stories. All the while never losing sight of the change objective.

Are you looking for a high-impact change manager? Someone who increases the chance and level of success, helps prevent project delays, and unnecessary costs, mitigates risks, and supports a smooth implementation? Someone who can speak the language, understands the challenges of today, and knows how to create a winning organization?

We are here to help. SPRING TODAY is the one and only niche player that exclusively provides search and interim services to recruit change managers for leading organizations. Let’s talk!

Ready to elevate your change capability?

Partner with SPRING TODAY to bring in the best Change & Transformation professionals to your organization.

Don’t settle for just any “transformation manager” – work with a pro who can speak the language of the business and create a winning organization.

Contact us today and let us help you navigate through the complexities of change management with ease.

Change management | Landing page request

Ready to elevate your change capability?

Partner with SPRING TODAY to bring in the best Change & Transformation professionals to your organization.

Don’t settle for just any “transformation manager” – work with a pro who can speak the language of the business and create a winning organization.

Contact us today and let us help you navigate through the complexities of change management with ease.

Change management | Landing page request