The contemporary business environment requires organizations to keep up with the fast pace of changes that are occurring around them. Political, economic, social, technological, and environmental changes are forcing the organizations to have conscious units that have the mandate of managing change in an effective manner. However, some change management units in certain organizations have failed to achieve the necessary results. Equally, the use of external change management consultants might also fail as a result of various reasons. This paper discusses issues surrounding the effectiveness of change management units and external change management consultants in managing change programs in organizations.
Why Some Change Management Initiatives Fail
According to Kotler, Berger, and Bickhoff (2010), effective change management can be achieved from conscious programs that can be run by a change management unit. However, some units have failed to deliver on change management because the employees have insufficient information considering the need of having a change in the way the organization operates. This begins when change management units in an organization fail to communicate effectively the urgency of change. In such instances, the employees do not support the programs that are aimed at initiating changes in the organization. Therefore, some change initiatives may fail because the change case is not properly presented and justified to different stakeholders. This takes away the much-needed support to the change management programs.
In addition, change management units fail to educate employees to become leaders. It is a virtue which is important in ensuring that the proposed changes are implemented. Making some employees leaders in change management units is a way of directly involving all the stakeholders in the process of managing change. Thus, the employees will be encouraged to support change programs in the organization.Similarly, some change management units fail because they cannot improve on the performance and operations within the organizations after the datelines. Change is a progressive process that requires being evaluated at particular identified points. However, when these points are reached and there is no improvement or notable results in the way processes and operations are done in an organization, the stakeholders may begin questioning the change management process.
Some change management units also fail because they do not recognize that change is a process that requires patience and tolerance to realize the required results. Such units engage in what can be described as short cutting the change process. It is important to note that people and processes do not simply change because of an email communication or a brief presentation on the need for change. Instead, people need time to undergo the changes in the way they behave and do their responsibilities. The same thing can be said to processes and operations that are performed by people in any organizations.
Change management is among the most expensive ventures that organizations may undertake and this sometimes requires acquiring new equipments and skills. Therefore, change management units require sufficient funding. This is not the case as most of the units are under-funded from the managements of their organizations. Finally, some change management units have failed due to the unmerited delegation of responsibilities to unskilled people. Inasmuch as it is important to involve employees in the change management, the executive needs to identify the responsibilities that they are delegating to other people. Other reasons include failure to seek for expert advice and not integrating change management with the overall organization operations.
Why External Change Management Consultants Fail
Involving external change management consultants in managing change programs in an organization can be satisfying especially when the consultants are able to understand the culture and operations of the company. However, most change management projects carried out by external consultants' fail, because of their lack of knowledge about the company's culture or the policies and regulations that guide the operations and performance in the organization. In addition, external change management programs are likely to fail where the change program is prolonged. In such circumstances, the external consultants need to be available all the time to monitor changes and give directions on the implementations. Since the external change management consultants have the knowledge on how the changes are supposed to be implemented, their absence will mean that the program cannot go on. Therefore, the organization may find it impossible to complete the change initiatives.
Hiring external consultants for change management is expensive and, therefore, some external consultants normally withdraw their services, when the organization does not fully support the program in terms of finance. This normally leads to the stalling of the already started programs in change management (Kotler, Berger, and Bickhoff, 2010). External change management programs also fail because the consultants do not understand the outside and inside operations of the company. The identification of the need for change is important, and it is only through proper communication and the insightful perception that an organization can implement strong changes in its operations and activities. However, when the external change management consultants are brought onboard, they may not be able to perceive changes in the same way the management of the organization perceives it. Therefore, external change management team may find it difficult to communicate with the staff and the executive of the organization. Where there is poor communication between the change management team and the players, the program will not achieve the desired results in terms of changes.
Furthermore, some changes require follow-ups and quick access to ensure that the necessary results are achieved. Nevertheless, external consultants are sometimes not available to offer the critical follow-ups and quick access that are important in ensuring that the change program is successful. They may equally want to have their work done without any influence from other authority. However, the management of the organization may possibly interfere with the process of change management as they seek to direct the changes in their organization. Additionally, some external change management consultants are likely to rush through their work of managing changes as they look forward to attending to other similar jobs. Therefore, they end up doing the shoddy job in managing change. Moreover, the external change management consultants always have timelines within which a particular change program is supposed to be accomplished. Going beyond this timeline will mean extra expenses for the organization or complete withdrawal of the consultants; all which may stall the change process.
Configuring Change Management Unit in the Organization
The business environment is constantly undergoing changes in the way it operates. According to Jacoby (2012), organizations are not exceptional. They are constantly changing as businesses develop and expand. No organization can definitely claim to withstand the wave of changes that is sweeping across the world today. As such, there is a continuous need for organizations to establish well-developed change management units that are specifically configured to meet its desired changes. This is why large organizations must have a change management unit configured in their structure to carry out change management programs as a part of improving productivity and service delivery. A well-configured change management unit will be instrumental in performing change management programs as part of the sustainability program with a view of establishing long-term stability.
To configure a change management unit in the organization, there is a need to have a clear communication on the need for a change management unit to all concerned departments. This will not only ensure that the employees support the change management unit but also that they give the much-needed support when the unit is finally formulated. Similarly, there is a need to identify the actual area where changes are supposed to be effected. This will allow the unit to be formulated since it will have a clear blue print to embark on (Prosci Analyst, 2012).
The change management unit should also be configured in a manner that it cannot interfere with the normal operations of the organization. This will be done through a clear strategy that involves allowing programs and operations to run concurrently with one another to avoid bringing the organization to a standstill. Equally, change management unit must also be structured in a way that supports quicker and efficient decision-making in a team environment. This means that a change management unit will utilize a well-defined communication system that allows for effective communication among different parties in the unit.
Additionally, the ability to overcome obstacles and resistance to change is important in ensuring that the change program is implemented. Some of the people within the organization may look at the change management unit as something that is going to threaten their work. Thus, they may want deliberately to resist the changes that are put in place. However, a change management unit must be configured in a way that gives it mechanisms to address the resistances and obstacles that are likely to come up during the implementation process. This can be done through a continuous educational program that will keep all interested stakeholders informed about the importance of having certain changes implemented in their organization. The change management unit will be in charge of educational programs and will, therefore, propose seminars and training programs that people will be undertaken to learn about the need of ensuring implemented changes in the organization.
Since a change management unit will be dealing with different sectors in an organization, it is important to ensure that whatever mechanisms are put in place, they are able to manage the cross business unit collaboration between different sectors. Equally, the change management unit will be the nerve center of the change program in the organization and should thus have enough resources and mechanisms to ensure that all departments within an organization are coordinating well. This will ensure that all departments within an organization have relevant and timely information concerning the progress in change management. Equally, this way, no department will be left behind in the process of initiating changes in the organization. The executive management in the organization will be seen as an important player in supporting the activities that a change management unit will be carrying out. As such, the support of management will be sought. This will be in terms of finance and other relevant bureaucracies that are necessary in ensuring that the unit carries out its mandate successfully.