Change management is an approach that many people still find hard to define today. Starting the webinar, Annie-Claude Bélisle Denis asked the panel how they would define change management and explain what they think it entails.
Jenine Waters, BDO’s National Leader for People Advisory believes that change management is all about shifting behaviours.
"In today’s world, change has become the norm and when I think about change, it's all about shifting behaviour. Whether it's a system or cultural shift, or an organisational restructure, change management is about trying to make sure that the behavioural shifts you want to happen become a reality,” Jenine Waters says.
Jenine further explains that a common trap leaders fall into when trying to drive organisational change is not engaging key people affected throughout the process. For change management to be effective and lasting, Jenine says your approach needs to be more than sending a few emails or inviting staff to lunch and learns.
"Change management is actually about bringing your people on the journey for change, and listening rather than talking to understand who is impacted by this change and how,” says Jenine.
For leaders looking to undertake a change management project in their organisation, Jenine says that the first thing they should do is reflect on what they want to achieve with the project. Her top three questions leaders should ask themselves are:
- Who are the people that you're impacting with this change?
- What's important to them?
- How will you bring them along on that change journey?
Vanessa Vaillant, Change Manager at BDO, says while change is a buzz word today, many leaders find it challenging to articulate what change management means for their organisation because many, different technical definitions are available. Like Jenine, Vanessa explains that in her view, change management needs to be less about the definitions and more focussed on understanding the needs of their people.
“…Change management is about acknowledging and recognising when you're fundamentally changing how someone does their job and then identifying what support they need to embrace and adopt whatever the change or new way of working is.”
Vanessa further explains that one of the key things leaders forget when it comes to driving change is that it’s not the organisation that’s changing, but the people. As such, leaders must be taking the right approach that encourages people to embrace change and effectively support them as they adopt those changes into their jobs.