Change Management: Which Theory Are You Using?

by Jenny Kriha

We’ve all heard the old phrase, “change is the only constant.” In today’s world, the rate of change is faster than ever, in everything from customer demands and product diversification to engaging and maintaining an organizational mission. For every reason to implement change, there are 100 different theories on how to actually make it happen.

In reviewing change management principals, I compared the following and found that each theory has a few key components in common:

Thompson’s theory emphasizes understanding the reasons for change, as well as the effects, implementation, and communication of that change. He asserts that you must gather as much intelligence as possible before making any change at all. This includes persuading opponents of change to become allies and influencing others to assist with the change process.

The Lewin Method views change as a process, not an event. Change can’t happen overnight or without understanding, preparation, benchmarks, and deadlines in place.

Torben Rick discusses the importance of determining the reasons for and effects of change, along with implementing change and watching for signs of resistance.

Other methods advise using Six Sigma Methods, crafting strong Social Media campaigns, and maintaining patience and creativity in the face of change.

It’s not hard to find the common threads. In my experience, the most important parts of successfully driving change are communication, identification of supporters and opposition, and a strong implementation plan.

Over the course of my career, I have been a part of three different acquisitions. Two were handled very well with open communication, seamless technology integrations, customer and stakeholder acceptance of change. The other was a mish-mash of ideas, directions, communications, etc., which yielded a result that was ineffective for employees and customers alike.

Change is inevitable, but when you embrace it with preparation, full understanding, and effective communication, it leads to wonderful things!

What has been your experience with organizational change? Let’s talk in the comments below!

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