The What, Why and How of Change Management

Have you defined the key elements of your change management process?

Leadercast Marketing Director, Dana Warszona, explains that change management involves both large-scale and daily organizational changes. Everyday, change occurs in smaller, more manageable ways; still, leaders must be aware that change, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on the entire organization and employee engagement. In fact, the first thought most employees will have is: How does this change affect me? In this video, Dana shares from her experience the three keys to change management: understanding what change is occurring; why the change is happening, and how to implement support and processes around the change in the most effective way.
You know what I think is interesting when you talk about the topic of change management is that, I think what comes in mind for people is that it has to be big changes. There's this thought of maybe acquisitions or perhaps a total change in strategy but really every day there's a little element of that and I think that is important to kind of think of. So in my past experience I've kind of gone through the big changes, the acquisition and such, as well as changes that happen on a monthly basis. For instance, in my previous employer, we actually went through a major divesture of an organization of the company. We literally split in two. Probably not surprised, Motorola, we split into two companies and it wasn't an overnight thing. It was actually a two-year process. So if you can imagine going through two years of what does the next step look like, how does this work, and then finally after the change was made many more years of how that looks differently as you are as an organization. And I think some of the big things I learned going through that is the fact that just like other major incidents that happen to you, you kind of go through phases both emotionally and professionally and just as an organization. And at any point and time, it's important to really keep in mind where you're at in that phase and it might be different for different people. So some people can go through things very quickly and get from, "yeah, I see that destination and I know how to get there," and other people it might take them longer. So with this particular change with the organization, I think what was most important was recognizing where we were trying to go. What we were trying to achieve as an organization? Making sure that that vision was clear, not just at the core of the organization, but what we kind of call the edge, or actually looking at who is the furthest person away from the foundational understanding of what's going on and do they communicate and understand the same thing that someone sitting in the corporate office and thinks about. So almost like a game of telephone, is the message actually getting out to someone at a remote location where they fully understand what the vision is? So I think what's most important or what was most important in that change is understanding that there was a destination. There was something that the company was looking to achieve and that everyone understood what that goal was, what that destination was, and once everyone knew that, looking at what are the steps to get there? What are the ways we need to communicate? How do you go from point A to point B? And it's not a race, it's not sprint, it's more of a marathon and that in between those two stages you needed to have interim measurements, interim goals, and a lot of explanation on the why. Why, how, and what are three things that come to mind. Why are we making this change? We know the destination. Why are we making this change? Because I think when you tell someone, why you are changing, there's a lot more understanding of I can get on board with that. Without an understanding of what or why it is the change is being made, sometimes blanks can be filled in that might not be correct or there's a feeling of someone holding back information, which then is really challenging for someone to trust. But fully understanding the why, making sure each individual in the organization can understand that, and then once they get that, the second immediate thing they think about is what does that mean for me? So that what? As soon as you hear a change is happening, as much as we would want to assume everyone is on board with it and they can see the bigger picture for the organization, very quickly it becomes personal. What is in it for me? How does that affect me? Is there any risks to what's going to occur for me? And I think recognizing that and this is something I've definitely learned through my past managers, recognizing that, making sure that you address it to allow people to ask questions to understand how it affects them, then they can move to the how. How do I participate in this? How do I actually find my part in? You know, do I do anything different? Has anything changed for me? Do you need me to play a different role? Or is it, there's a change going on, I understand that it may or may not affect me but I still do, but I did before. So I think really in any type of change whether big or small, making sure that someone understands the destination, understands why they are going that direction, what it means to them and how they can participate in that, I've seen it be the big difference between where change can effectively occur and when there's been issues with that change to actually occurring. 

Dana Warszona Thomas

Dana Warszona Thomas is Vice President, Marketing and Product Development at KontrolFreek, and the previous Marketing Director at Leadercast. As a seasoned marketing and strategy leader, her experience growing global enterprise and go...

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