A change management framework is a name given to the structure you use to manage change within your organisation. There are many frameworks recognised for the process and choosing the one that is the best fit for your change will ensure you are in the best position to reach a successful outcome without compromising the job satisfaction of your workforce.

Whether your change is organisational, digital or cultural, you will benefit from lower resistance from employees, a more motivated and productive workforce, and faster implementation of change at a lower cost. The Association of Professional Change Management offers a widely accepted standard for change management that defines overarching practices and processes for change management.

Recognised change management frameworks

1 – Kubler Ross Change Curve Model

Shock – Denial – Frustration – Depression – Experiment – Decision – Integration

2 – Kotter 8 Step Change Model

Create urgency – Form coalitions – Create vision and strategy – Communicate the story – Empower and remove barriers – Achieve short term wins-Build on change – Integrate and institutionalise

3 – Satir Change Management Model

Old status quo – New element – Resistance – Disruption – Transformation – Integration – New world

4 – ADKAR Model

Awareness – Desire to support – Knowledge – Ability – Reinforcement

5 – Kurt Lewin Change Model

Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze

As you can see, there are many different change management frameworks, all of which are designed to facilitate a smooth transition from one state to another. The business must evaluate the impact of the change and how this may be perceived by those affected. It is no good to plough ahead with a planned change without ensuring the organisation is in the best shape to accept it. Employee attitude and acceptance, getting them to buy into changes is critical for success. A large percentage of change initiatives fail because the voice of the employees goes unheard and support is not forthcoming to guide them through.

Creating a plan

Once a strategy is formulated and outcomes are recognised, you should develop a change management plan that outlines specific tasks, scope and timelines. It should cover the resources necessary for success—providing additional resources to support those affected, allowing time to understand and accept the change program and devote to learning and adopting the new procedures or systems. This could mean a redeployment of staff to ensure productivity is not adversely affected. Or it may mean factoring in a disruption that could result. These personal skills are invaluable to ensure your team feel supported and work productively with you to effect changes. Any level of discord can be disruptive and highly contagious. This could damage trust and acceptance for your plans. Your change management process should allow for measuring and controlling progress against anticipated timeframes. Providing feedback and updates can help maintain motivation and momentum. Hold meetings and listen to opinions to gauge acceptance as the plans progress. It is better to identify and deal with issues as you go along and offer support where needed. After all, the feelings and actions of your employees will make a difference. Effective and transparent two-way communication paths can be enough to keep things on track for both time and budget. Employees empowered to be part of the process rather than dictatorially dragged along with it will always be more readily accepting of change, even when they do not like them. 

Success will be determined by how you handle the challenges

Change is hard on organisations and can easily lead to challenges that threaten to derail any changes no matter how crucial you believe them to be. Change will always be disruptive. Someone or something has to change, which leads to unease. You will always have sceptics and those that feel threatened by the thought of the unknown, they need support to understand. Your business will benefit if you allocate resources, expertise and time to do so.

People power can be the difference between success and failure. Therefore, you must accept that you should look at the process from the employees’ perspectives. From start to finish, you will benefit by being open and honest. Even when it involves not good news, an honest approach is always better tolerated and less damaging than speculation that results if you are not. You may be clear on how the change impacts your business processes but constructively ensuring your employees are included and empowered can be more difficult.

Getting help

You may not have considered that you need a change management consultant to assist you with the changes you want to implement, but they are the specialists when handling people. A change management expert can bring in knowledge and experience to support your workforce through the transition and be the liaison and trusted person to bridge the gap between your project management teams, staff and leaders. Agile Project Management Courses can also help you build project management methods that recognise the fast-changing pace and need for repeatable and practical strategies that help smooth the path and acceptance for change to compete with the demands that all change brings.

Communication is key

To be successful, you need to be forward-thinking, meaning change is inevitable. Yet around 70% of transformations fail. The biggest hurdle remains that not enough time is given to communicate with employees. Employees that feel heard will always be more accepting than those silenced, and you should seek honest feedback. Knowing the mood and feeling of your workforce allows you to address it. If not addressed, the gripes and concerns will fester, causing more widespread disruption and negativity. Empowering your people and having a plan to address pitfalls along the way is more likely to give you the positive and sustainable change that you need. The most successful organisational change management uses a framework or method that aligns with their company beliefs and incorporates acceptance strategies that reduce reluctance long before the change plan starts.

A business ripe and ready for change should build an accepted ethos of the need for change before it becomes critical. This will make it easier to adapt and compete in the fast paced, changing world we now find ourselves in. Equip yourself with leaders and change managers who are prepared to tackle difficult situations, make decisions and where necessary, take action against those that continue to disrupt the process, despite your best efforts. No matter which framework you opt for, there are some similarities in the qualities you need to use them effectively.