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What Every Business Leader Needs to Know About Change Management

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The reality is that most change succeeds or fails on the cooperation of the people who must implement the change. Therefore, in the final analysis, the most important element of the change is people.

Sure, if you are implementing new technology or a new procedure, it has to be well conceived and perform as it is intended from a technical point of view. But, change seldom fails just because of technology; it fails because the people impacted by the change do not embrace it.

There are many manifestations of a lack of commitment. To be certain, poor technical design is one of them. But, when people want change to work; and when they are enthused, engaged and invested in change, most obstacles can be overcome.

It is an oft told tale, but leadership is the key to successful change management. Leadership starts at the top and succeeds through those affected. Successful leaders listen. They involve all those who might be affected by the change by gathering data (both fact and motion) around the change.

If possible, they achieve a high degree of ownership by having key constituencies help design as much of the change as possible. If change must be dictated, they proceed with tough minds and compassionate hearts. All affected are treated with dignity. Communications are frequent and factual.

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