Tackling the Change Management Process

Posted by on January 30, 2023

As we begin a new year, understanding the differences between change readiness, change management, and change leadership is vital to successful new initiatives taking hold and sustainability of them.

When we consider all the changes that we intentionally try to make in our lives, thinking about how we approach our leading and managing behavior is like adopting new ways of being in the new year. 

As we have learned over the past few years, change is the only thing that stays the same

Last month I discussed the idea of change readiness and creating an environment where successful change can occur. As you move from readiness into making the change, you’ll be facing change management and change leadership. 

As a leader, you need to understand management and leadership; understanding the differences between the two and when to employ the skills for each can ease the process of leading and managing a team or group through a change process. 

Change management is about the process, the tools, and the structure in place to be able to make large-scale changes happen. 

One of my favorite voices in the field of change, John Kotter suggests: 

“[Change management] refers to a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control; It’s trying to make sure change is done efficiently; the goal = minimize the distractions and impacts of the change. It is a set of mechanisms that are designed to make sure that when you do try to make some changes,
A- it doesn’t get out of control, and
B- the number of problems associated with it is limited.
The goal is to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change; so, keeping focused on the people involved and the impact of the change. “

As you consider all the changes you want to engage in this new year, I encourage you to reflect on your own approach as a change manager.

  • When am I leading, and when am I managing? Where are the differences in my approach?
  • Is the change managing me? Or am I managing it? 
  • How am I communicating the differences in my approach with my team? 
  • What systems, tools, and mechanisms are in place to help me manage the change? 
  • How do I mitigate issues and challenges, even ones I am not yet aware of?
  • Do I and do my team currently have capacity for this change?

The new year is a great time to reflect and consider your management approach as a leader. 

Taking time to be intentional and reflecting on the questions above can help determine your own level of preparedness for change as you consider the environment and what you need to best manage yourself, your team, and the changes that will occur.