Many people will resist change to the nth degree. Others will not only embrace it, but cause it to happen just for the fun of it. Whatever your preference when it comes to change, change itself at least in the corporate world, is itself, changing.
Organizations in general are beginning to understand that change management needs to be a required core competency. Therefore, if you are one of those team members who doesn’t deal well with change, you will need to ramp up your ability to handle and implement change at a higher level of expediency.
The CEO’s Role: CEOs, specifically, are also beginning to recognize the importance of their role in change management. As an example, a recent client wanted to change the bank’s culture to a sales culture. After meeting with a member of the client’s team, and then checking back in a couple of weeks later, I was informed that the bank had decided to roll out this change initiative beginning with the tellers and the CSRs (customer service reps). What I wanted to do would have landed me in prison. Rather, I chose the more professional, but very direct route, of suggesting to the team member that would prove disastrous for the change initiative. You see, while the tellers and CSRs do have a lot of customer contact, they are not the place to initiate a culture change.
In the Beginning: The CEO and the entire executive team must be where any change initiative begins. Tim Creasey says it best: “Study participants reported an increase in senior leadership support, noting that executives now have a greater understanding of their role in change and a strong desire to be active and visible sponsors. With this senior level support, project managers and initiative leaders are able to implement change initiatives more effectively and the benefits are speaking for themselves.”
Change Positions: Another change that is taking place with change is now there are positions being created within organizations specifically dealing with change. As always, I have been an advocate for creating change management committees; now, change may have its very own department. This department may come complete with a plethora of training programs hitting the market. Training programs include those for project managers as they will now have more responsibility for implementing change.
Certifications: Anyone either inside or outside an organization can become certified as a change management expert. Of course, there are many opinions on certifications. One of the most interesting articles I’ve seen recently is by Ron Leeman. I don’t know Mr. Leeman so his opinion is his own. Even universities such as Cornell on line; Emory University’s prestigious Goizueta Business School, and, Northwestern School of Professional Studies offer such programs. Therefore, any CEO can become more familiar with the change management process and how to better implement major change within their organizations. Of course, there are consultants and organizations who can come in and handle change programs.
The Institute of Management Consultants is one such association where members are often “graduates” of a rigorous consulting certification. Other entities include Kotter International founded by John Kotter, a retired Harvard professor, who created his own popular eight-step change model.
Change cannot be avoided, but chaotic change can. Today there are tools and systems readily available for anyone who wants to learn how to better handle change at almost any level of the organization.
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