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Exactly What is Change Management?

We at LaMarsh Global still get the question, “Exactly what is change management?” a lot. Our first reaction is to determine how to answer the question.

As change management thought leaders, we know what change management is, but the initial answer has to be gauged to the level of detail needed by the person asking.

The discussion usually begins with a clear definition from Managed Change™, our proprietary approach.  Here is the standard answer we provide for the persons who will be the change management practitioners:

  • The organized, systematic application of the knowledge, tools and resources needed to effect change in the people who will be impacted by it.
  • Use Managed Change™ to:
    • Identify and predict the source, degree, type and intensity of potential target resistance
    • Accelerate the change by implementing the actions steps to reduce that resistance.

 

Then we go into greater detail as they are ready to hear it. But increasingly, LaMarsh Global is getting the question from senior executives. That’s great news! However, we are very careful to provide an explanation that gives them the right amount of information for an initial answer, but doesn’t ‘scare’ some leaders away.

Here’s what we say to them at LaMarsh Global:

Change management is a very simple business process that helps organizations implement change. It consists of three activities:

  1. Find the people who will be asked to change and figure out what those changes will be
  2. Identify what is or could cause those people concern or fear that could threaten the success of the change
  3. Build a set of action plans to either prevent or reduce the risk of failure by addressing those fears and concerns

 

That’s what change management is. We know there is a great deal of work, a full methodology, and tasks and tools under those three simple statements. But try out this initial explanation the first time you get this question from a senior manager and see how it works.


For more information on change management and specific organizational change management learning solutions, explore the Managed Change™ Academy.
Jeanenne LaMarsh

Jeanenne, Executive Director of Consulting Services, founded LaMarsh & Associates, the predecessor to LaMarsh Global, and developed the innovative Managed Change™ model and methodology that has been used for effective change management by hundreds of organizations over the past decades. Connect with Jeanenne on LinkedIn here.

Comments (3)
  1. wordsandnotion says:

    Good Article
    The impact of change management over people is beautifully written here. But does it affect people alone ? There could be many other impacted zones like process and procedures, infrastructure, technology etc etc…

  2. Barbara says:

    What a great, clear and concise way to describe change management.
    Everyone has their own take on what it means, so your approach really helps leaders to focus on the core element of change in a business which gives the change program its greatest impact. Its people, how they feel about the change and what they see as the way to help it deliver a result.
    Anything much else tends to complicate the process.
    Thanks for sharing your approach.

  3. Rick Rothermel says:

    In almost every conversation and engagement we find ourselves having to answer the “What is Change Management?” question. Jeanenne does a great job in her blog making it simple. Another approach we take as part of our follow-up in the conversation is to reinforce the simplicity by introducing what we believe to be the five basic questions that are at the core of good change management, link here:

    http://www.lamarsh.com/answer-5-questions-define-change-management-organization/

    If your client, your supervisor, your leader can answer these questions about a specific change, you successfully shift the conversation. Now, you can discuss how to manage change more effectively and efficiently rather than finding yourself having to define it and possibly defend it.

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