Training and Change Management

pexels pixabay 416405

Though it seems like an oversimplification, the most important thing any manager can remember is that things change. Keeping processes in place because “this is how it has always been done” is a recipe for inefficiency at best and disaster at worst.


This is not to say that you should always look for ways to fix what isn’t broken, but being open to new ideas and technologies can put a company at the forefront of its industry. 


Change doesn’t come without risk though. That’s why a clearly defined change management process is important. You want to be able to identify the benefits of a change, mitigate the risks, and make sure your team is on board.

Defining Change

An important step in creating a consistent change management strategy is identifying a workable change management definition


Change management is defined as “the overarching approach taken in an organization to move from the current to a desirable future state using a coordinated and structured approach in collaboration with stakeholders.”


Essentially, this says that change should be a collaborative and structured process that brings a team, a department, or even a company as a whole toward an achievable goal. 


Time tracking


This could mean implementing a new time tracking system, new company policies, automating processes, or even a complete shift to a new business plan or corporate structure. The key is making sure the stakeholders involved have bought into the change and are working with management to make that change happen.


It is also important to note that every change must be approached along multiple vectors. Not only must there be a clear strategy to alter and improve processes, but there must also be a plan to get the human element of your company involved in and excited for the changes you seek to implement.

Types of Change

Not all changes are created equal. While a standardized process to guide change management can and should be put in place, those processes will apply to more than one type of change.


The four types of organizational change are emergency, standard, major, and normal.


Emergency changes must be made quickly—often, these changes come in response to some sort of major incident. Emergency changes carry high risk and should be avoided if possible.


Standard changes are very common and will often have procedures in place that involve pre-approval. These are changes that recur frequently.


Major changes and the approval process


Major changes require strong justifications and approval from high-level management. These changes can involve company strategy or major shifts in tactical approach.


Normal changes are more important than standard changes, not as urgent as emergency changes, and not as high-level as major changes. Increasing the use of robotic process automation in accounts payable workflows would be an example of this type of change.


A normal change can significantly impact a department and will often require in-depth planning to implement successfully. 

Elements of Change

After understanding the question, what is change management, you can begin to dig into the elements of a successful change. By understanding those elements, you can better formulate your plans for the future.


There are several ways to break down how change works. One approach says that there are three elements to each change. Each of those elements are then split between process needs and human needs.


Micro and macro level of change


On a macro level, every change, be it on a departmental or company-wide scale, has three common aspects. Those aspects apply to both the process and human sides of change.


Those macro elements of change are planning, transitioning, and institutionalizing. 


Planning includes identifying the need for change and creating a team to formulate the strategy for implementation while driving buy-in from their peers.


Transitioning includes the implementation of your team’s plan. That can involve training people on new software, switching to better hardware, or putting new company policies into place.


Institutionalization includes evaluating the progress made because of a change, tweaking things to smooth out rough spots from the transitioning phase, and determining the next steps for the group that incorporated the new change.


But all of that is on a macro level. When we look closer, we can get even more insight into how a successful change becomes a reality.

Change According to Kotter

Since the mid-’90s, Dr. John Kotter has been the leading voice in organizational change management. Since initially outlining them in 1995, Kotter has been refining and revising his 8-Step Process for Leading Change.


These eight steps focus on driving change with the full collaboration of your team. The process being altered and improved is almost totally absent from Kotter’s steps because the same change management principles apply across disciplines.No matter how large or small a change is, it will not succeed without the support of the people on the ground.


We strongly recommend you check out Kotter’s book here. This is only a summary of his ideas. So what are the change management steps as observed and codified by Kotter?

  • Create a sense of urgency — establish why the change isn’t just desired but is imperative.
  • Build a guiding coalition — the people most affected by a change must be at the forefront of that change.
  • Form a strategic vision and initiatives — you must have a clear idea of how your change will improve your company and how you can demonstrate that improvement.
  • Enlist a volunteer army — buy-in from your team makes all the difference. You aren’t just changing a process, you are working together to maximize a common opportunity.
  • Enable action by removing barriers — find the roadblocks that get in the way of change and eliminate them. This could be something like bottlenecks in established workflows or hierarchies that prevent quality collaboration across silos.
  • Generate short-term wins — change can be difficult, so recognizing small victories and meeting incremental goals is important to keep your team energized and pushing forward.
  • Sustain acceleration — while celebrating short-term wins is essential, complacency is a killer. Use your small victories to push for larger accomplishments.
  • Institute change — you have to be able to communicate the connection between the change you have created and the successful outcomes that it has driven. By tying your team’s actions to their accomplishments, the changes you have made will become strong parts of your company culture.


What these steps show about the change management process is that no matter what the project is, getting buy-in from your team and keeping them focused on the goals of the change that you have created together are the keys to making successful changes.

Evaluating Change

Something that can go under the radar is taking stock of changes in order to normalize and codify the process. This is especially important when you look at change management in project management.


Ensuring that there is an established blueprint that can be adapted to manage changes to workflows, processes, or an overarching business approach makes the jobs of the project managers facilitating those alterations much easier.


Change management plan


The seven R’s of change management can be a great tool to create a standardized change management plan that can be applied to changes across your business. First appearing in Business Perspective, Volume 2 from the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the seven R’s are as follows:

  • Reason behind change
  • Risks of the desired change
  • Resources needed for the change
  • Who Raised the request?
  • The Return required from the change
  • Who is Responsible for creating/implementing the change?
  • Relationship between changes


By applying these seven lenses to changes you have made in the past and using them to look at prospective changes, you can learn from past mistakes and avoid making hasty decisions in the present.


The seven R’s work very well in conjunction with the first four steps of Kotter’s process. Not every idea for a change is a winner, and using this tool can help you avoid those pitfalls.

Know Your Change Management Process

Understanding types of changes, what they consist of, how to successfully manage them, and how to evaluate them in order to create a standard process will make your company stronger than it has ever been.


This is where The Strickland Group can make all the difference in the world for your company. Our white-glove approach incorporates both Kotter’s principles of change and the seven R’s to ensure that any changes you make to your processes can happen organically, collaboratively and come with trackable, quantifiable results.


Whether you’re looking to improve your communications and remote work capabilities with voice over internet protocols or seeking to use robotic process automation and intelligent enterprise content management to increase the efficiency of your workflows and processes, Strickland Solutions can help you bring positive changes to your teams.


Our products and services are customizable and designed to ensure that the process of changing to a better system for your business benefits everyone, from the CEO to the data entry specialist.  


A business whose workers are invested in reaching higher efficiency, productivity, and profitability goals is a business primed for success.


In conclusion

Keep your eyes open for new technologies that can optimize a workflow that has stagnated. Look for the steps in processes that create unnecessary bottlenecks and work with your team to find solutions to them.


Having a clearly defined change management process tells your team that if they spot something that could be better, you have a way for them to help make that thing better! 


Change can be scary, but with the right processes, it doesn’t have to be. 


What do you mean by change management?

Change management is defined as “the overarching approach taken in an organization to move from the current to a desirable future state using a coordinated and structured approach in collaboration with stakeholders.”


What are the seven R’s of change management?


  • Reason behind change
  • Risks of the desired change
  • Resources needed for the change
  • Who Raised the request?
  • The Return required from the change
  • Who is Responsible for creating/implementing the change?
  • Relationship between changes


What are the steps in the change management process?

  • Create a sense of urgency 
  • Build a guiding coalition at the forefront of that change.
  • Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  • Enlist a volunteer army 
  • Enable action by removing barriers 
  • Generate short-term wins 
  • Sustain acceleration 
  • Institute change


What should a change management plan include?


A change management plan should include a clear focus on the process that is being changed, how that change will be implemented, how the value of that change can be measured against established processes, and how that change can be driven by the team members who will be most affected by that change.


What are the types of change?

  • Emergency
  • Standard
  • Major
  • Normal