Change is hard, and hence change management as an integral part of any enterprise transformation has to be front and center. There are several change management principles, change management models, and also sample change management plans. (To level set, here is the definition of change management.) While it is essential to document the principles, identify a model, and define a strategy, it is also important to think about and plan what type of change management approaches may work in your enterprise context.

The following are some of the critical change management approaches and alternatives which leaders in charge of transformation programs need to take into consideration and make go forward decisions.

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Steve Jobs

Change Management Approaches and Alternatives:

  1. Revolution or Evolution:  Sometimes change can be an ongoing process – the so-called Kaizen to continuously iterate and improve. While at other times, a shakeup and a shakeout may be necessary to get a moribund company unstuck from the muck.  It depends on what is the importance of the said transformation and whether it involves more than just a tweak or whether it is a fundamental shift in the way things are thought and done.  A good rule of thumb is to follow the principles of evolution for 75-80% of the change efforts, whereas 20-25% of the time, it may be a strategic imperative to adopt a revolutionary change management approach.
  2. Top-down Mandate or Bottom-up Consensus: In general top-down mandates don’t work well. It is always a good idea to have ideas percolate from the rank and file and spread across the organization. But when there is a fire or a tectonic shift in the business landscape, it is imperative for the top leadership of the company to institute changes with a top-down approach.  Of course, this is not about issuing a fiat and waiting on the sidelines.  The top-down mandate should be followed by a well-thought-out strategy, a prudent plan, and modeling of behaviors by the top brass.
  3. Change Culture or Adapt to the Culture: Often, things that go counter to the culture will fail. It is a best practice to institute changes that are within the cultural norms and social mores of an organization. But if the culture itself is an impediment, then a change in culture should precede the transformation change program. Uprooting the culture and instituting a new culture itself is a massive change challenge and requires a robust change management approach and plan.

    A good rule of thumb is to follow the principles of evolution for 75-80% of the change efforts, whereas 20-25% of the time, it may be a strategic imperative to adopt a revolutionary change management approach.

  4. Crush the Resistance or Let it Linger: For those of us who still remember our physics, Newton’s third law states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Similarly, in most organizations, there is resistance and opposition to any change effort. From attitudes like “It will never work,” “Not in my division,” “Not until pigs fly,” and “I’ve seen things like this come and go” stems the resistance. How does the change management leadership deal with the resistance and opposition? Is nipping the resistance in the bud the right option? Or should the leadership allow the corporate equivalent of “free speech” and let it linger and make converts of them in the long run? As usual, there is no right answer. It depends on three aspects – the criticality of the change initiative, the nature of the resistance (whether it is principled and reasoned resistance or intentional sabotage), and the influence of the teams who are resisting.  Often, a prudent middle way is to giving the opposition a reasonable time and space, and when it starts to become an obstacle using aggressive measures to put out the fires.
  5. Change as an Integral Process or a Standalone Initiative:  Some companies are exceptional in being in an ever-changing mode.  If that is the case, change is something that is business as usual.  However, in most other large firms, change management is an aftermath of a significant transformation. Even in this case, results will be better if companies incorporate change management as an integral part of the transformation.
  6. Proactive Change or Reactive Change: Should the company leadership wait until there is a need for transformation and consequent change? Or should the leadership anticipate the mega shifts and be proactive?  While the latter may sound great in theory, but corporations are deeply entrenched in running the current business operations and often do not see the trends that will have impact the very survival.  History is replete with industry sectors and companies not realizing the magnitude of the impact of the new wave of technologies and other mega shifts. Even if a proactive change is not always possible, recognizing it before it is too late, and acting firmly is an essential corporate leadership trait.

Irrespective of which change management approaches or alternatives are relevant and important in a particular situation, it is important to develop an integrated and holistic change management plan with strong buy-in.

If we missed any major and specific change management approaches, please do let us know.

___________________________________________________________________________

Change Management Offerings from our Partners:

Science of Successful Organizational Change

Make Change Happen

Managing your Team through Change

Financial Times Change Management Briefing

Master the Change Process

Fundamentals of Change Management

___________________________________________________________________________

Products Related to Changement Management Approaches:

  • Sale! Untitled-2 copy

    CRM Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com CRM Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management plans as a part of significant process re-engineering or systems implementation in the CRM function. The CRM Transformation Ch...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00
  • Sale! Finance and Accounting Transformation Change Management Plan

    Finance and Accounting Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com Finance and Accounting Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management plans as a part of significant process re-engineering or systems implementation in the F&A function. Th...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00
  • Sale! hr

    Human Resources Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com Human Resources Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management plans as a part of significant process re-engineering or systems implementation in the HR function. The Human Reso...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00
  • Sale! mk

    Marketing Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com Marketing Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management plans as a part of significant process re-engineering or systems implementation in the Marketing function. The Marketing...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00
  • Sale! pmt2

    Project Management Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com Project Management Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management plans as a part of significant process re-engineering or systems implementation in the Project Management 2.0 f...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00
  • Sale! scp

    Supply Chain Transformation Change Management Plan

    CIOPages.com Supply Chain Transformation Change Management Plan is a customizable deliverable outlining the concepts and specific action plans required to implement change management in light of major transformation programs such operating model changes, process re-engineering, or systems implementa...
    $149.00$499.00 $99.00$299.00

Related Change Management Insights and Advice:

Organizational Change Management Models - What are Change Management Models? Change Management Models are frameworks which typically encapsulate a methodology, a content metamodel, and an ...Read More
Top Change Management Thought Leaders - Who are the top change management thought leaders? Here is the take of CIOPages.com. We admit that any list of ...Read More
Change Management Principles - Today, in the digital age, we need a new set of change management principles, practices, and perspectives to help organizations ...Read More
Change Management in the Digital Age - Change Management in the digital age is challenging as the digital realities are forcing companies to change more frequently and ...Read More
CIOPages.com Change Management Framework - CIOPages.com Change Management Framework is a simple and yet a comprehensive metamodel that will allow an enterprise to plan and ...Read More
Change Management Roadblocks - The most prominent change management roadblocks are not necessarily about the frameworks, plans, and procedures but the mindset of people, ...Read More
Change Management Reality Check - Enterprise transformations result in tremendous challenges and here is a change management reality check.  In fact, change management should begin ...Read More
The Top 7 Change Management Barriers - Understanding the critical change management barriers will help corporate leaders anticipate and mitigate the factors that typically derail any change ...Read More
The Change Management Secret - Here's the change management secret you will need to know to be successful in managing change during significant enterprise transformations.  ...Read More
CEO as the Change Management Leader - CEO as the Change Management Leader is a strategic imperative for companies that are in the middle of a massive ...Read More