Change Management Made Simple

Updated: Nov 16, 2020




Change Management is dealing with the change that occurs. The change can either be Planned or Unplanned:


Planned: you know the change is going to occur and prepare for it. Some examples are:

  • You schedule a vacation

  • Your manager sets up recurring one-on-one meetings with you

  • Your workplace schedules an upgrade of the computer software

  • A process is being improved in your department and you are part of the pilot study

Unplanned: a change occurs without warning and you are not prepared for it. Some examples are:

  • COVID-19 pandemic

  • Your manager calls an emergency meeting

  • You are on your computer and suddenly it freezes, or the software you are using crashes

  • The process you work is changing and you are being told for the first time

Whenever a change occurs, it will affect the three aspects of your life:


1. Person (cultural change): you will be altered in some way by the change. Armed with your social triggers (SCARF®), you can effectively manage the change. How well you accept and adopt the change will be important to your stress levels. To better understand the adoption stages, go to our blog describing the Law of diffusion of innovation. On the other hand, if you are the one using change management to get others to adopt your idea, then you will be communicating the change as well as using influencing skills, such as:

  • Reciprocation

  • Persuasion

  • Negotiation

  • Dictation or Forcing

2. Process (habitual change): chances are your way of working or habit will be altered due to the change. This means you no longer can continue executing your tasks the same way. It is easier if you are the one making the change because you control the process enhancements as well. Regardless, as you adopt the change, your way of working will change in one of the following three ways:

  • Change for the better or improve the process

  • Redesign the process (put in place a completely new way of doing it)

  • Transform the process (your way of working is modified as part of a bigger organizational change)

If you have not adopted the change and are resisting it, then you will want to keep all as-is, which may not always be feasible. In many cases, processes get altered before people buy-in, forcing the person to modify their habit to fit the new normal.


3. Environment (organizational change): your surroundings will be getting an overhaul based on the cultural and process adjustments that are affected by the change. You will require to adapt; for example, with the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are teaching virtually instead of in the classroom. At some point, some aspect of your surrounds will be altered. Using the same example, teachers will go back to teaching in classrooms, however, everyone will be wearing masks: the desks may be further apart and maybe even the teacher’s area will be shielded off. Basically, you are adapting to the new normal.


Understanding the effects, a change will have, can help you better prepare for it; whether the change is planned or unplanned. Out of the three affected aspects of your life, the cultural change is the hardest to master. Once you have adopted the change, it is a lot easier to then figure out how you can modify the way you go about your work. It is in altering your habit that will easily adapt your environment to the new normal.


Having done the process and environmental modifications, you may have a hard time accepting the change fully, especially if it is unplanned. This is where mastering the SCARF® model becomes important because you need to condition your brain to the change. If you are unfamiliar with SCARF®, go to our “5 Social Triggers to Master as a Leader” blog which is a 3-minute read.


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Want to read inspirational stories that make you think? go to our Anna & Dude series.


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