Working as a management consultant is not only about applying standards and implementing frameworks, it is mainly about change management.
I will tell you why. When a consultant applies standards for whatever the reason was, he/she changes the status quo of this specific organization, hence changing the current situation.
That means going through a challenge, as change is not that easy to design, and not to mention, implement; especially if the particular organization has been performing with the same way for a long time.
Do you know what is even more difficult? Changing people’s culture; it’s probably the most difficult kind of change. That is why you can see how Human Resources professionals suffer every day at work due to the continuous challenges they go through (i.e. changing employees’ perspective about a new appraisal process).
There are many definitions of change management and all of them depend on the descriptive situation. However, the management of change could be defined as the process or the way of designing a structured methodology or approach that helps the organization to be aligned with the required change.
The management of change involves all the organization’s stakeholders whether they are the employees, customers, partners or any kind of stakeholder groups, the main objective of this involvement is to enhance their understanding in regards to change and what does change mean for them.
The Process of Change
The below 5 change management steps along with the review process describe the sequential steps that any organization or management consultant can follow in order to achieve the goal of the change management project.
1 Recognize the Need for Change
This is the most important step in the change management process. The organization’s leaders have a critical role in this stage, since they design the strategic objectives for the organization. Thus, they will be able to anticipate the organization’s needs for change and they will decide on the way of implementing this change. Although this step is related mainly to the leadership, it does not mean to neglect the employees and stakeholders’ needs and expectations in regards to this process.
The aim is to identify the major needs or aspects that are required to be changed; it helps to examine the current state of the organization, gathering the required information and analyzing it in order to reach to providing the organization with a full image of the current performance and the required level of change. The outcome of conducting this step is a decision or action plan.
3 Plan and Prepare to Change
This step could be translated into a ‘project plan’, which involves procedures in order to be done effectively depending on how accurate the diagnosis process was.
During this phase, it is required to appoint someone as a ‘Transition Manager’ to be in charge of monitoring the change process, gathering the required resources, allocating tasks, setting the development plan and supporting the team in order to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation process.
4 Implement the Change
Here is when the consultant or the organization applies the required standards or framework. It is a vital step in the change management process. Also, it depends on the outcome of the planning stage.
5 Sustaining Change
The aim of this step is to sustain or maintain the level of change that the organization finally reached during the previous steps. This starts from identifying the need for change to reaching and implementing the change as per what has been highlighted earlier. The definition of sustainability is maintaining the current performance and improvements in a particular static level in terms of performance. And on the other side, following a dynamic approach for continuous improvement and setting a future plan.
Review the Change
Recalling what Deming has said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This is a continuous process. It works in parallel with all the other steps starting from the diagnosis until sustaining the change. The aim of the review is to get feedback with regards to the change process and to seek continuous improvement.
At the end I would like to mention that collaboration is a vital factor in establishing a successful business environment. This could happen by using different standards and frameworks in collaboration to achieve the organization’s overall objectives. And this is the task of the management consultant.