The person behind the change management process

Companies spend billions every year on change management initiatives that are predominantly process driven. However, the most important factor you need to take into consideration in a change management process is often ignored: Every process is driven by aperson

During the past year, the Association for Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Africa has hosted a series of networking events that specifically placed people dynamics in change processes under a microscope. The results were quite surprising.

At a networking event which took place in Johannesburg in February 2013, Richard Hawkey, the author of Life Less Lived, presented a set of shocking statistics that served as a huge wake-up call:

  • More than 50% of employees are demotivated,
  • An average of 54% does not get enough sleep,
  • Thirty-eight per cent is simply exhausted and will avoid taking on extra or new tasks,
  • A further 38% suffers from low immunity and severe allergies, and
  • Twenty-three per cent experiences isolation and goes into withdrawal.

The question that naturally follows is this: if more than 50% of employees are physiologically and physically dysfunctional, how can we expect them to function at work, let alone participate actively in change initiatives?

“It’s time for organisations to acknowledge that they will not get the performance and productivity required from their people if they are overly stressed. For this reason, we need to start conducting stress audits and make provision for support of these audits in our employee wellness programmes,” stated Richard. 

Richard, who is an ex-top executive from one of the large banks, speaks from personal experience. He went from being a top performer to someone who could not get out of bed in one week because he completely burned out and was diagnosed with clinical depression. 

Plan carefully before you do anything

The ACMP Africa networking events which took place in Johannesburg in April and in Cape Town in June highlighted another simple yet often-overlooked truth about the change process: change practitioners often design change strategies without really understanding the impact of change in real-life scenarios. 

With this in mind, BMGI presented mini ChangePro workshops that let change practitioners gain invaluable insights into the ‘whys’ behind the ‘hows’ of the change process.

The workshops that were presented by Salomon Erasmus and Ginty Chalk of BMGI took the form of highly engaging, live simulations of typical change situations:

  • Delegates had to complete an actual challenge: to obtain the buy-in of all stakeholders involved and let them adopt the change within a predetermined period of time.

From this, change practitioners learned that:

  • There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ methodology for change, and
  • They had no choice but to keep adapting their strategies according to the setting and people they were dealing with.  

“At least ChangePro gives people a set of tools and techniques that can be applied to a variety of different change scenarios. Knowing that you have a proven skill set and resources at your disposal gives a change professional confidence to handle any obstacle that comes his or her way.”

This article first appeared on HR Pulse

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