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What are the Best Change Management Practices?

By Florence J. Tipton
Updated May 17, 2024
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Essentially, change management practices focus on the use of resources, techniques, and processes that may help organizations implement a change initiative to improve performance and efficiency. While the scope may differ among organizations, change management practices typically motivate people and create a vision for the initiative through ongoing communication. Coalescing key stakeholders — unions, managers, and senior level executives have an interest in the proposed changes — may encourage a commitment to fulfill the change initiative. Most organizations find that the transition is manageable and momentum for change sustained with adequate support systems during each phase of the change management process.

For most successful change management practices, having a systematic approach usually steers a group towards completing a change initiative. Managing change effectively typically involves having guidelines to transition each part of the change management process. Setting rules may keep the change initiative progressing smoothly, weakening an adverse impact to systems and people that are part of the change.

A designated change agent — the person or group normally responsible for leading, developing, and implementing the plans for change — might create an environment where the need for change is accepted. Generally, ongoing change management communication builds a path for the change agent to demonstrate that the change initiative will lead to improvements. Through motivation, determining readiness, and acknowledging resistance to change, the anxiety about unknown consequences are often relieved.

Creating a vision for the needed change is another element in change management practices. This practice helps to articulate the core purpose for the change initiative. Vision may remove uncertainty and energize people to become committed to supporting a successful change initiative. Providing a vision for implementing the change may also clarify the benefits to the people most affected.

It is possible to remove the barrier to gaining stakeholder support as the group coalesces around the vision. Some organizations have individuals or groups that can influence a change initiative positively or negatively. With buy-in from the stakeholders, the change management process may have a better chance of being successful.

Having everyone on board for the proposed change may backfire without a system to manage the transition. Specific events, or milestones, that progress from current to future conditions proposed in the change initiative usually must take place for a successful transition. Most successful change management practices typically include a plan of activities centered on tasks that will link priorities associated with the change.

As the activities occur, change management practices may also require tasks that sustain the momentum by reinforcing the ultimate goals of the change. The initial excitement of the group might dissipate if a problem arises during operational or structural changes. Having adequate resources and support systems to address problems might avoid causing a stalemate in completing the change initiative.

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