The term change management is used so frequently that its meaning has either become expansive and vague or extremely specific, depending on the audience. If you ask any employee or executive for a general description, they’ll probably tell you that change management is about executing a plan to modify or adopt new strategies that will improve some business performance. While that is an ambitious and ambiguous plan, it’s not change management.
Change management is really just the set of basic tools, procedures, and structures used to control the effects of change. Project managers use these tools to minimize the impact of the change. Changes will happen, and the change management system is there to provide guidance.
Typically, people think of change leadership when describing change management. Change leadership is the actual force driving the change towards a new vision or mission. It’s about knowing the end of the story, and moving the pieces to coordinate a large-scale transformation. The change leader has a sense of urgency, and the ability to empower the change-makers to reach the goal.
Change leadership is the heart and soul of the change process. It can control the process, speed, efficiency, and path to change. Change leadership is all about big, systemic and cultural changes. Change management, on the other hand, is about project and program managers executing the smaller changes dictated by the change leader.
Change management without the right leadership can drive you in circles or stall you completely. When is the last time you checked your vision? Contact us if you want to know more about change management during large projects.