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Change management theories

There are numerous models and theories that can help organisations to undertake change management and manage transition.

Though each approach has its advantages and drawbacks, no one framework will suit all situations. As such, successful change initiatives often use and adapt aspects of various models to suit the culture of the organisation and the context of the change.

Despite the broad range of approaches to change management, we have identified the following common factors for delivering successful change:

  • Effective communication
    Communication is a key component in the success of any change initiative
  • Change management plan
    A change management plan that defines the vision and scope of the change must be developed and followed. In its simplest form, a change plan answers three questions:
    1. Where are we now?
    2. Where are we going?
    3. How do we get there?
  • Acknowledgment of those affected
    The experience and emotions of the people who will implement and live with the change must be addressed. Being uncomfortable with change can influence people to resist and oppose it. When you are about to launch any new practice or system it is important to understand how people are feeling about the change and provide support to help them accept and support it.
  • Strong leadership
    Change should be led by a person or team who are passionate, visible and committed to the effort. Good leaders are skilled at managing the activities and mechanisms for planning and monitoring change and are able to create and sustain a sense of purpose.
  • Resources
    Resources are clearly identified and made available

You can read more about the various change management models and theories in Section 2 of the printed resource.

Questions to ask before implementing change

Before undertaking any change process there are a number of questions to ask yourself or your team:

  • Is the reason for change clear and understood?
  • Is there evidence to support the change?
  • Is there executive/senior leadership support for the change?
  • Do we understand the barriers to the change?
  • Have we engaged the right people in the process?
  • Do we have a plan that describes how we will get to our goal?
  • Does the plan include steps necessary to sustain the change?

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