Change Management: The Key to Successful Digital Transformations

Jun 07 2022

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How A Change Management Consultant Can Help A Business

In the rapidly evolving world, the only constant thing for businesses is change. Going through modifications in operational or functional infrastructure is never easy. Businesses need to employ robust change management to stay relevant and competitive.

Change management is an all-inclusive term for approaches to explain, support, and aid employees, teams, and businesses in implementing organizational change. Leaders responsible for this operational transformation within a business are called change management consultants. They specialize in helping businesses to adapt new concepts and create an innovative way to work.

Change management consultants assess the needs and impact of future changes, find new opportunities, and smoothen the transformation process within an organization. Change management consulting is a complex process and is successful only when the key components are in place. Businesses looking to employ organizational change management consultants should assess their strategy based on a few key components.

Key Components of Change Management Consulting

Changes in the operational structure of an organization are a long-term process. Change management can become overwhelming for businesses without an expert’s knowledge as they guide businesses to help implement an effective and efficient change management process. It is also important for organizations to streamline communication with change management consultants to maximize productivity.

A good organizational change management consultant ensures that they are in line with the major components of change to make the transformation smoother. Some of the most vital ones have been explained below.

1. Business Goals and Vision

Change management consultancy is focused on specific business changes. This implies that a business needs to define business goals as the first step. It is recommended to avoid establishing goals that are narrow in scope or structurally unorganized for effective implementation. A change management consultant can help you streamline resources to simplify this step.

Change management consultants collaborate with managers to understand and create fiscally-appropriate goals focused on future growth. This helps them precisely outline and align processes that would help the organization or the parties involved as per the business vision.

2. Senior Leadership and Engagement of Stakeholders

Involving senior leadership and stakeholders while defining business goals and implementing change is essential to create a robust change management strategy.This is vital as change is inspired by the top leaders in an organization. Senior leaders act as catalysts to facilitate change in the organization and inspire the rest of the employees to achieve desired results. This is true for all people involved at the center of productive change, including stakeholders.

Change management consultants act as mediators between stakeholders and senior leaders, between senior leaders on different sides, or sometimes even between senior leaders and staff.

It is a key component of any change management strategy as it strengthens communication that forms the base of change implementation.

3. A Solid Change Management Strategy

When business goals are clear to the top leadership and stakeholders, change management consultants work on developing an actionable strategy to drive change. A clear change management plan is based on several key factors. It begins with the assessment of the organization’s current ability to change, via change readiness assessment. Once this is done, consultants perform a risk analysis to find future obstacles that might hamper with change implementation.

A robust change management strategy covers all phases of change management including pre-implementation, implementation, post-implementation, and institutionalization. When this is done, leaders and consultants can implement these changes individually or in a single go.

4. Flexible Infrastructure and Employee Readiness

Change implementation is synonymous with flexibility in infrastructure. Organizations work in a defined way to form a culture that reflects their vision and efficacy. With time, these shape up as organizational values and form the base of the organization. Adapting to change, hence, becomes a challenge for organizations that are afraid to change.

The best change management consulting firms help make the transition easier by implementing training, strategies, and resources to shape organizational norms. Sometimes, it may mean wide-scale changes in organizations like completely deconstructing a company’s norms or simpler modifications in the way teams approach problems.

5. Resistance and Risk factor

A right and experienced change management expert will always observe and consider the resistance and risk factor associated with a change. People tend to resist changes, and it is a normal phenomenon. But, with appropriate efforts and effective communication with resistors, the desired innovation can be achieved.

To overcome associated risks, staff requires proper training, and they must be encouraged to embrace the discomfort so they can experience and enjoy fruitful innovative outcomes in the future. Risk is always there, but when all employees combine to ensure a seamless application of designed change management strategy, the risk factor can be eliminated.

Regarding the resistance, employees will need proper mentoring and coaching to understand the need for change, its benefits, and the true essence of innovation and transformation to step out of their comfort zones to embrace the change.

A professional change management expert definitely considers such challenges and devises ways for business leaders and executives on how to overcome such hurdles.

6. Regressive Analysis

Thorough analysis of the implemented strategy is one of the most vital components of the post-implementation phase of change management. Once changes are up and running, consultants need to constantly monitor progress in every phase. Analysis is important not only to ensure that the risks are minimized but also to find new opportunities to maximize the impact.

When consultants can interpret this research in real terms, they have a better view of what to expect in the future. Change management consultancy can aid firms to explore their hidden potential while minimizing risks on both micro and macro level.

The Three Stages of Management Change Implementation

Kurt Lewin, the founder of modern social psychology, designed the 'Lewin's 3-Stage Model of Change'. It is an approach that employs all the key components of change management consulting to achieve the desired results.

The three stages are referred to as Unfreezing, Transformation and Freezing. The same 3-tier approach has been successfully adopted by change management consultants across the globe to leverage resources for helping organizations with change. Therefore, understanding the three stages is vital for businesses as well as consultants to increase productivity. Let's dive deeper into knowing more about these change management stages:

1. The Unfreezing Stage

The first stage of change management involves defining business goals and vision with the aid of senior leadership and stakeholders. This is a vital phase for everyone involved in the process as it forms the base of a change management strategy. It is the preparation stage, wherein consultants and senior leaders prepare to move away from current operations.

The unfreezing stage is about exploring opportunities, planning changes, and foreseeing growth for both the organization and the change management consultant involved.

2. Changing Stage

This is the stage where businesses face the greatest number of challenges as it involves implementation. Change cannot be implemented instantly or all at once. So, the chances are that the change management strategy needs to be modified throughout the course of implementation. Thus, change management consultants modify strategies as per the movement that occurs as a reaction to change within an organization.

The transformation phase is difficult to begin with, but experienced management consultants have adequate time and support to react to change. They constantly communicate and ensure proper training is offered to implement change flawlessly.

3. Freezing Stage

The freezing stage is an extension of the analysis component of change management consulting. As the name suggests, this stage is meant to reach a fully functional strategy that drives results. It begins once the changes have been implemented and continues till all the changes have been stabilized. This is possible only when consultants regularly check implemented changes and bring in corrections to solve identified errors.

The freezing stage helps consultants and businesses to solidify changes and create a stronger company culture while restricting unwanted past behavior and errors.

How Does Change Management Consulting Impact Business?

Right steps when taken at the right time bring the right outcomes. Similarly, right change initiatives by change management consultants bring about success and advancements to forward-thinking companies. Change management consultants can positively aid businesses to streamline change, facilitate growth and deliver  the following benefits in the process.

External Influence and Commitment

Most businesses prefer to have the organization’s leadership as the directing authority for its employees. This may lead to bias and lack of an external perspective while implementing change. So, organizations supported by external change management consultants have the advantage of external influence. An experienced consultant brings in a fresh perspective without getting affected by political or cultural barriers.

Hiring an external consultant also ensures that he is accountable and committed to driving change as his prime motive. It is not that an internal team cannot handle change management but an external perspective supplies a greater bandwidth for strategy and implementation.

Change Orchestration and Adaption

The primary purpose of change management consultants is to ensure that organizational changes are facilitated without affecting the regular work. This includes all processes necessary to implement change and establish new business goals. Change management consultants collect organizational intelligence initially to effectively implement change and avoid all potential barriers.

While implementing change, it is also vital for consultants to control the speed and format of the initiated changes. This helps organizations to easily adapt to change at the right pace and time. Once changes are implemented, consultants start placing corrections wherever fallacies occur to further orchestrate the change management strategy.

Urgency in Primary Actions

It is vital for change management consultants and top organizational leaders to control the pace of change. They can act as catalysts or pacifiers depending on the situation. Senior leaders instill acceptability in the organization while change leadership is capable of driving change. When employees are prepared for rapid changes, change management works better and becomes easier.

While performing primary tasks for change, urgency is needed. When there is no urgency behind change, processes may slow down or become overwhelming. Change management needs a driving force to influence the organization to change. Without it, driving change successfully becomes inevitable.

Is Your Business Ready for Change Management?

Change management consultancy becomes an essential asset for businesses to drift back on the path to success.

The best way to know if a business is ready for change management is to discuss your business needs with an experienced change management consulting services provider. Icreon has worked with clients such as XPO LogisticsAmdocs, the American Geophysical Union, and New York Road Runners to drive change within these organizations.

If implemented in a right way, change management improves communication, increases accountability, and ensures consistent growth. Let’s find out where you stand in your digital culture by answering a few questions. Explore Change Management Consulting Services