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Explain 5 Levels of Change Management

Qualityze
01 Aug 2023
5-levels-of-change-management

The organizations that resist to change often find it difficult to improve their productivity and profitability. In the highly competitive business era, it has become even more crucial to stay up to date with the technology advancements, growing customer expectations and changing compliance requirements.  

It won’t be wrong to say that change is an absolute necessity for your business to grow. 

If you have standardized the change management processes, you are more likely to improve organizational performance. So, a standardized and optimistic approach towards change is required. For which, you need to understand certain aspects of change management. This post is intended to share all those aspects with you. We will start will a quick overview of the concept – change management.  

What is Change Management?

Change management is the systematic process of dealing with changes in goals, processes, or technologies within an organization. Its purpose is to implement strategies for implementing change, controlling change, and assisting people in adapting to it. Structured change requests, along with follow-up processes, should be included in such strategies. 

An organization must consider how the adjustment or replacement will affect processes, systems, and employees to manage change. Change should be planned and tested, communicated, scheduled, implemented, documented, and evaluated systematically. Documentation plays a critical role in change management, not only for ensuring compliance with internal and external controls, including regulatory compliance, as well as maintaining an audit trail. 

You can consider breaking down the change process into five levels to achieve your quality objectives more efficiently and effectively.  

Five Levels of Change Management 

Every organization experience five different levels of change, including: 

LEVEL 1: Lacking Awareness About Change Management 

It is quite a common scenario that project teams are not aware about organizational change management or often consider it as a formal method for managing the people aspects of change. And change management is used as the last option.  

However, this should not be the case. The business must understand that the employee resistance towards change may impact the success of the project. So, change management should be properly integrated with the project management from the very beginning itself.  

If you are among business that consider managing change reactive, you are more likely to fail since reactive approach doesn’t go well with the project management. It can be because of number of reasons: 

  • A project leader is primarily considered responsible for managing expenses, schedule, issues, and resources 
  • It is rare for project communications to occur and they are limited to what is necessary to know  
  • It is more likely that employees learn about the change from rumor and gossip, rather than from a structured presentation 
  • The only visible signs of executive support are funding and resource allocations; there is no active sponsorship  
  • They lack knowledge of the change and are unequipped to coach employees through the process of change. 
  • The employee may react to changes with surprise and may be resistant in some ways. 
  • As the change develops and goes into full effect, productivity may slow, and turnover may increase. 

So, how to deal with Level 1 Challenges and Approach the Next Level? 

You should organize change management training for your employees. You can also let your team apply the change management strategies on the isolated projects so they can handle the change related challenges in real time and come up with the effective resolution for the same. This will prepare them to approach and manage change more proactively than before. Let’s explore the aspect of change management in isolated projects in Level 2. 

LEVEL 2: Management of Change in Isolated Projects 

Level 2 sees the emergence of elements of change management. However, management of the people side of a change does not often happen or be centralized. It is because of the following reasons: 

  • One of the most considerable variances in change management practices is across projects, where various approaches are applied in a dispersed manner throughout the organization; some projects may be well-positioned to manage change, while others are still experiencing Level 1 change management. 
  • Communication planning plays a part, but no training or tools are provided 
  • No formal training is provided to managers and supervisors on how to guide employees through change. 
  • Management is generally used to address a negative situation. 
  • A surprisingly small amount of collaboration occurs between the isolated project teams using change management; with each new project, they are just re-learning the basics of change management from scratch. 

A project at Level 2 takes advantage of change management when resistance emerges or when the project is nearing completion. Most projects do not apply change management at the beginning. It should not be the case. Also, communication planning is done quite later, which is part of the early stage of the project life cycle. 

So, how to deal with Level 2 Challenges and Approach the Next Level? 

To better manage change in your organization, you need to create training programs and research best practices in change management. Further, assign different change management projects to other teams so they can test different change management principles. It will help you find the best approaches to manage various types of change in the organization. In addition, you should encourage communication and collaboration among teams to improve decision-making. And provide your team with the right change management software to help them efficiently cover every aspect of change. 

Level 3: Managing Changes in Multiple Projects 

At Level 3, the process of structured change management begins. At this level, the team or aspect of the organization is involved with change management. This may occur for several reasons. 

  • A variety of projects use structured change management processes, even if the approaches and methodologies differ.  
  • Teams in some departments share experience and lessons learned between themselves; this is an aspect of knowledge sharing within the organization.  
  • Change management is increasingly used, yet there are no standards or requirements for organizations; there are pockets of excellence with no change management, and there are projects that do not implement change management. 
  • To bring about a change in the company, leaders take on a more active role and view this as a part of their responsibilities. Still, there is no formal company-wide program training project managers, coaches, or other team members in change management. 
  • Project leaders and team members have access to training and tools; managers can now provide coaching to frontline employees. 

Many companies implement change management at the start of projects, with many more doing so when resistance is encountered during implementation. If you want to succeed, plan to manage changes and communication-related challenges at the beginning of the project. 

So, how to deal with Level 3 Challenges and Approach the Next Level? 

Create a standardized change management process and a team to support change initiatives throughout the organization. Then, you can invest in the change management and training management solutions that help your standard methodologies. 

Level 4: Defining Standards for Organizational Change Management 

Methodologies aren’t cookie-cutter formulas; they utilize repeatable steps, but they are most effective when tailored to each project. For example, at Level 4, the company chooses a common approach and implements standards to manage change across all new projects and changes. This is due to the following reasons: 

  • It is widely recognized that project success depends on change management. 
  • Organizations have chosen a standard change management methodology and are preparing to introduce it to their processes. 
  • Managers and supervisors receive formal training on change management, as do leadership teams, project teams, and change leaders. 
  • Supporting change management efforts and developing change management skills is the responsibility of individuals, groups, or administrative positions.  
  • Change management is always the responsibility of the executives, who are both visible and active supporters of change on every new project. 
  • Some teams may still not understand the value of change management, despite isolated instances of non-compliance and resistance. 
  • Change management skills are being built throughout the organization, but adoption is not yet at 100 percent. 

Related Article: Change Management Software: Making Organizational Changes Smoother and Faster

The Level 4 team regularly incorporates change management in the planning phase of their projects. Change management and project management milestones are implemented concurrently. It becomes difficult to distinguish between project management and change management as the project progresses.  

So, how to deal with Level 4 Challenges and Approach the Next Level? 

Have a dedicated team to take care of change-related activities, including deployment, training, and improvements. Perform gap analysis in the organization to identify non-compliance and non-conforming processes. However, you can utilize a tool to manage all the activities efficiently. You can also invest in an enterprise quality management software that can help you build closed-loop quality system to manage all the key processes in a compliant manner. The right tools and methodology can help you leverage the potential opportunities that come with every change in the organization. 

Level 5: Improved Change Management Competency 

At Level 5 change management maturity, organizations have change management competence built into their skill set. It is due to the following reasons: 

  • Managers have made effective change management a strategic goal and a priority 
  • Change management is understood throughout the enterprise, and employees play an essential role in its success 
  • Management of change has become a norm, nearly indistinguishable from initiatives 
  • Managers and supervisors regularly use change management practices to support all the activities ranging from strategy changes to process improvement. 
  • Organizations collect data to improve the standard approach, tools, and training for change management 
  • The organization offers extensive training at all levels 
  • Increased ROI, lower productivity losses, and fewer resistances to change among employees 

Organizations with advanced knowledge of change management fully integrate change management into project management. The planning and design phases include both project management and change management. Moreover, the right change management software in place can help create standardized workflows. 

There are many tools available online, but Qualityze Change Management Software is the one you can really count on.  You can take the product tour by requesting a free demo right away and experience the Qualityze different in simplifying your change management processes. 

For more information on Qualityze products, please get in touch with our customer success team at +1-877-207-8616 or email us at info@qualityze.com, and we will be there for you. 

 

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