The full title of this article is “Masterclass for Professionals: Guiding Your People Through Change, Putting It All Together, and Managing All the Complicated Business”.

That last part is important because change is a complicated matter. For the vast majority of us, “change as something to resist and avoid” is the “default setting.” Much of what we do as human beings is motivated by this innate need to keep things as they are, to preserve the boundaries around “my life,” to preserve my survival, my safety, and my comfort.

However, when change is inevitable, automatically, and often unconsciously, we try to find out “what does this mean to me?” Thus, in practical and pragmatic terms, the root of all resistance to [or acceptance of] the change can be reduced to the uncertainty about the question “WIFM”, that is to say: “what do I gain from this?”

At the organizational level, the appropriate response to change is one that really works. What works is an approach that addresses the root cause of human resistance to change:

– That looks beyond organizational “synergies”, cost reductions, and service improvements, and identifies the people who will be affected by the change.

– To thoroughly evaluate what those impacts will be.

– Recognize and address the emotional problems that arise and the personal transitions that accompany organizational change.

– Provide leadership, supported by management processes, and practical tactical support that directly address these impacts.

– It does that in ways that work just as well for the people within the organization as it does for the organization.

So in this short “Practitioner Masterclass”, we will focus on the 3 general areas that a successful change sponsor must address:

(1) Leadership

Although we speak of “change management”, it is more accurate to think in terms of “change leadership”. People must be guided through the transitions they experience as they are affected by organizational change.

Change leadership has 3 main functions.

– First, to recognize the emotional dimension and guide those affected by change through the stages of personal transition. The importance of this is directly proportional to the scope, scale and duration of the change initiative.

– Second, provide the energy and inspirational motivation that generates and maintains momentum.

– Lastly, ensure a balanced alignment of the organizational needs and the personal needs of all stakeholders.

(2) Change model and method

The first of the two aspects of managing a change initiative is the change model and methodology that will bridge the gap between a “big picture” high-level strategic vision and a successful front-line implementation.

This should be considerably broader in scope than the typical project-directed approach – “task-oriented”, as it addresses human factors and deals directly with the most common causes of failure. [that are always people related].

In my opinion, the recommended model is one that is based on a broad and holistic program management based approach.

(3) Stock management

The second of the two aspects of managing a change initiative is translating vision and strategy into actionable steps.

This may or may not include project management, but the main emphasis is on showing (and helping people) the details of exactly what is required of them.

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