Digital Transformation ~ 7 min

Change Management definition form : a communications-based approach

Communication Team, Experts in Internal Communication, Sociabble
Communication Team Experts in Internal Communication

“Change Management” is a term you hear quite a bit in the business world today, although an explanation of the term seldom comes with it. Which is why we decided to provide a little background, because as much as the term is used, it’s not always clear exactly what we mean.

What is Change Management, precisely? The question can be daunting, but there’s no need to fear. While Change Management models are many and varied, the concept itself is not very complicated. And once we define it, we can get into ways that strong communications can help Change Management processes run smoothly at any organization.

What is a Change Management simple definition ?

Change Management (or CM for short) is a collective term for all the different processes to prepare and support both individuals and entire companies for organizational change. This could involve anything from digital transformation to total business restructuring. It might include responding to changing consumer habits, or adapting to new budget restrictions. What all Change Management plans have in common, though, is that they’re run with the objective of transforming some aspect of business in a way that’s as smooth and effective as possible. This means eliminating unnecessary stress points, and making the experience as easy as possible for employees, managers, and consumers alike.

A brief history of Change Management

Change Management came about as a concept in the 1960s, with academics beginning to formulate ideas about how people respond to personal and organizational need for change.

Even from the beginning, communication channels were seen as a crucial component to successful change management. It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that corporate consultants started to implement these ideas with a structured approach, and help organizations effect change management programs.

One of the driving forces behind this was the arrival of computing and the digital age. Organizations that had been analogue for decades were suddenly forced to adapt to a new, digital reality. The emergence of the internet in the 1990s and early 2000s only heightened the need for companies to transition to a digital world.

These new technologies affected how organizations were structured, how they interacted with consumers and conducted commerce, and most importantly,  on how they communicated, both internally and externally.

Even from the beginning, communication channels were seen as a crucial component to managing change.undefined

Why is change crucial for a company’s life cycle?

A company does not exist in a static environment. There is no such thing as a perfect state. Even if an enterprise reaches a state of maximum efficiency and meets all its goals, that state will not last if the organization is not constantly adjusting, tailoring, and heightening its efforts.

Companies that rest on their laurels, and that don’t see themselves in a consistent state of need for change, usually do not stay relevant. It is normal, even necessary, for companies to go through a life cycle, make adjustments, and evolve over time.

The key to survival and remaining competitive is to see the structure and practices of a business as fundamentally dynamic. Because the world we live in is constantly being reshaped by new trends, new technologies, and new consumer models, so too must companies work to reshape themselves to exist in their evolving ecosystem. To do otherwise is to become obsolete.

There are many examples of change management process resistance. Whether it’s a video rental chain refusing to adjust its business model to the internet, a film company unable to adapt to digital photography, or a department store chain that cannot establish an online checkout, the past two decades have seen numerous organizations fail to thrive because they were unable to detect the reasons for change.

Traditional strategic guidelines and models

From the beginning, experts have created different Change Management models for effective organizational change. As early as 1962, Everett Rogers published his “Diffusion of Innovations” theory, coining terms like “Innovators” and “Early Adopters.”

In 1982, Julien Phillips, a McKinsey & Company consultant, published one of the earliest complete Change Management models, and the ‘90s saw the increasing acceptance of models like those proposed by Daryl Conner, in his book “Managing at the Speed of Change.”

Today, the Kotter Method, an 8-step change model formulated by John P. Kotter, is often used as a go-to guide for managing change initiatives.

There are many other Change Management model examples, like Kurt Lewin’s model, the Adkar strategy, just to name a few. But whatever the Change Management strategy, all of these approaches share the same essential goal: to create a roadmap to help companies effectively lead their own organizational change and reach their goals. Want to learn more ? Discover a definition of vertical communication and how it can affect your company.

Effective communication matters.

One thing all change management professionals agree on is the importance of effective communication. Even in Everett Rogers’ initial 1962 publication, he mentions the critical role of communication channels as forces for effective Change Management plan. Communication is the human side of any change project management.

Organizational change relies on coordination, in multiple parts working together as a whole, and without the proper conduits for information, these coordinated efforts will not run smoothly. Internal communication is one component, but external communication is also essential. Think of it like a giant machine with many moving parts—communication is like the oil that keeps the gears and joints running smoothly.

Together, the right digital tools and methodology can help turn any Change Management project into a success.undefined

How to implement Change Management? The need for the proper digital tools and methodology

Two components can help drive effective communication in any Change Management plan. The first is having the proper digital tools to facilitate communication and engagement. For many years, this has meant simply email. More recently, intranets have been introduced as means of enabling corporate communication.

Today, digital platforms exist that serve as central hubs for employee communication. Coupled with the right digital tools, however, is a methodology for using that technology to drive change initiatives and achieve concrete results.

A strong methodology will involve and empower top management, engage employees, give them incentives, and provide them with a means for accessing and sharing relevant content. Together, the right digital tools and methodology can help turn any Change Management project into a success.

Sociabble is the solution that provides both.

Beyond being a complete employee communication solution, Sociabble is also tailor-made for achieving Change Management objectives. The Sociabble platform provides a centralized digital hub where employees can receive, create, and share information, whether among them or with their managers, on the other way around.

It also provides a newsletter engine for personalized publications. Content can be organized through interest-specific channels to keep the flow of information relevant, even at a global/local level.

The platform helps important news flow smoothly for large international companies. Sociabble comes with a complete methodology to onboard and train both managers and staff, as well as continued consulting support, in the event that any questions or issues come up.

Sociabble has already helped clients like Coca-Cola, Renault Group, Primark, and L’Oréal adapt their communications to the digital age—just to name a few examples.

To learn more about how Sociabble can help your company’s next Change Management initiative become a success, click here. We’ll be in touch with a free demo.

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