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A change management strategy helps companies transform their business operations from one model to another. While most companies have their own specific strategy, a common strategy consists of a few basic steps. Initial steps include awareness, understanding, and definition, followed by installation, adoption and institutionalization. Owners and managers will go through these steps to ensure each major change will follow a previously successful plan. Not all business changes will require these steps. Smaller decisions will often fall under a lower-level operational manager or other individual.
The awareness stage in the change management strategy helps owners and managers find new areas where their business needs to make changes. These individuals are responsible for the overarching policies and direction of the company. They must constantly focus on improvements that will increase the company’s value and increase the financial returns of invested stakeholders.
The understanding stage is where business owners and managers create a plan for the change management strategy. This plan often contains questions and answers that a company’s management must consider, regarding the overall change management strategy. This stage may take longer than others, as companies wish to make certain their plan is a viable solution.
In the definition stage, owners and managers will create policies for the change strategy. This includes selecting individuals to help complete the process, and designing the actual procedures employees must follow in order to implement the strategy. This also involves removing barriers that can restrict the implementation of the new operations or facilities within the company.
During installation, the company will begin to roll out the new operations or other facilities. This can be done on a limited basis to ensure that normal operations do not have significant disruption. A slower roll out during installation will also provide owners and managers time to train employees, which typically has better long-term effects since skilled employees produce better products.
Adoption during the change management strategy results in the final implementation and integration of the new systems into the company. This is the full roll out that companies will expect employees to follow when completing business tasks. Owners and managers will release full training manuals to all employees and ensure that all managers have the necessary tools to ensure the changes are kept up.
Institutionalization commonly involves the development of a monitoring system, which allows management to review the process and make further changes as needed. This creates a perpetual change management environment, as the company will have a system in place to shift operations as it grows or changes in the future.