I landed my first job in Change Management shortly after graduating from university in 2018, without knowing exactly what it was or what it really entailed. Working in a large provincial organization, I quickly began to learn about the meaning of Change Management and why it’s important. As I observed and listened and started to understand my role, I was surprised by a few recurring themes:
1) Change can be scary. I grew up with dial-up quickly transforming to wireless internet, MySpace being replaced by Facebook, MSN Messenger being replaced by Skype, iPod Classics to Minis to Nanos to Shuffles to Touch, and our TV channels eventually being replaced by Netflix. As part of a generation surrounded by change, we always partook in the next new thing. I was surprised to learn that digital transformations can be daunting on many levels for some. However, the more I saw, the more I understood how reasonable that fear can be. Change can be confusing; it can be unfamiliar and strange, especially when you’ve gotten used to doing things a certain way.
2) Patience is a virtue. Change certainly cannot happen overnight – this is the reason why change management exists in the first place. When changes are communicated early and learning is designed to happen over time and bit by bit, people become a lot less resistant once the change occurs. They are given more time to understand and process the change and its consequences, which eliminates a lot of the confusion they might have had at first. Communication channels that are self-paced and succinct, like articles or videos on company intranets and one-pagers, allow people to digest information according to their liking. Evidently, a solid and adaptive communications plan is a crucial to successful change management.
3) Relevance is important. Time and time again, I have noticed people communicate how important it is for them that the information they receive is relevant and customized to them. If the message isn’t relatable, their attention could be quickly lost. Messages should communicate changes for specific groups, and how it impacts them. Additionally, training should include scenarios that are customized to specific groups of people and should focus on the “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me?).
As work on a global scale evolves and new occupations, technology and skills are uncovered, the pace of change becomes more rapid, I can see that change management practitioners will follow suit and change with it. There is always going to be something new to learn in Change Management, and that is one of the elements I enjoy most about this work. Thank you, Faye Nera Find me on LinkedIn!