Three Essential Approaches to Managing Change

There are an infinite variety of changes and a large number of change management methodologies. However, once you cut through the jargon of specific methodologies, there are essentially three main ways to approach change:

Change as a Project

Change projects go through three main phases. Firstly, there is a start-up phase when the deliverables are agreed and resources are allocated for the project. Next comes a design and development phase when the deliverables are created. Finally, there is an implementation phase when the deliverables are applied to the organisation.

The approach to achieving change as a project requires a change team. This team, working outside of normal daily operations of the organisation, budgets and plans the change and identifies the deliverables. The deliverables are then created or developed.

Change via Task Forces

A task force is a group of people, usually from the staff within your organisation, who are asked to focus on improving some aspect of performance. Task forces can initiate projects, and projects may contain task forces. A task force is normally defined in terms of a performance improvement that has to be achieved in a certain time.

Task forces come under different names such as hit squads or performance improvement teams. The primary advantage of a task force is flexibility and rapid action. The primary advantage of a project is the very structured management of a complex series of tasks and the reduction of the associated risk of failure. The primary risk in task forces is that approaches may not be found to achieve the required performance improvement. The primary risks in projects are that the deliverables may not achieve the desired objective or the deliverables may not be created in the planned time or cost.

Task force members may work full time on the particular change, but normally the task force consists of staff who allocate a proportion of their time to the work.

Task forces are most useful in delivering inter-functional change where the end point is known, but the way to achieve it is not. Often there is not one factor causing the current levels of performance, but a complex interaction of many factors.

Embedded Change

Embedded change can also be called continuous performance improvement. Embedded change is about staff performing their normal role, making ongoing adaptations to any component of their work and improving performance over time.

Embedded change requires staff to have the motivation, decision-making authority and capability to make changes in the way they work on a daily basis. Embedded change is closely associated with the ideas of quality management and empowered staff. Although the cumulative impact of embedded change can be huge, every individual modification is normally a small tweak to a process or procedure.

If you’d like to learn more, download our eBook, ‘Managing Change: The Basics’ (link).


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Listening for Eight Key Change Triggers

The first part of change is the most inexact as it is about capturing the ideas you have on a daily basis. Any change process starts with an idea. This idea is a trigger for change.

Great ideas will be occurring all the time in your organisation. The difficulty in most organisations is not an individual having an idea, but those ideas being captured by someone with the interest, power or drive to make the change happen.

There are many sources of ideas. For example, change may be triggered:

  • As an outcome from strategy work;
  • From the analysis of feedback from stakeholders (customers, team members, peers and other stakeholders);
  • From market research: market research, about your competitors’ brands, services, products and other customer views;
  • As a directive: executives, business owners, funding bodies, or in the case of public-sector groups, the government;
  • From the observation of performance: for metric-led organisations that have effective measures of performance and target levels to achieve;
  • From the insight of a member of an organisation: occasionally someone has a truly creative insight about the potential for change;
  • From brainstorming and other idea generation sessions: formal and deliberate processes for generating ideas and for spurring creativity;
  • From the day-to-day experiences of senior managers: this arises from managers and executives listening to, overhearing, observing or reading something that triggers alarm bells in their heads.

Triggers like these will produce a need to change or a broad idea for a change, but typically do not in themselves produce a well-defined change objective.

This is an extract from the ‘Step-by-Step Change’ methodology.  If to would like to request a trial, click here.

If you’d like to learn more, download our eBook, ‘Managing Change: Understand Your Objectives’ (link).

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Welcome to our blog…

Welcome to our blog….we will be bringing you practical advice on how to manage a range of change scenarios within your organisation.

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