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Change Transition Management

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Change Management Strategy (24-slide PowerPoint presentation). Seventy percent of change programs fail, according to the April 2001 Harvard Business Review article, "Cracking the Code of Change". According to Bain & Company, businesses that implement fast, focused, and simultaneous change programs can create enormous and long-lasting shareholder [read more]

Also, if you are interested in becoming an expert on Change Management, take a look at Flevy's Change Management Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

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Every organization has to face radical Change in its lifetime.  In this Digital Age and with increasing macroeconomic disruptions, Constant Change seems to be the norm these days.  Managing the complete change process in times of uncertainty is crucial in getting through the Change successfully.

Although continuous Change is the norm now and the most successful organizations adopt it wholeheartedly, not all Change is planned.

Taking note of the difference between planning for Change and planning for Innovation is also significantly valuable.

Planning for Change seeks to uphold stability and include certainties in the organization.  Planning for Innovation is a process that significantly or entirely transforms the organization and demands tailored tools and creativity.

The study of Planned Change Models brings forth the following 3 models that have been used more than others:

  1. Lewin Change Model à this is the most widely adopted model for Planned Change.
  2. Action Research Model à this model is widely used in development work.
  3. Positive Model à this model has an exclusive stress on sufficiency instead of deficit.

Lewin Change Model is a 3-step Change model that provides a general framework for planned Change, with the following 3 basic steps:

  1. Unfreeze
  2. Change (or Transition)
  3. Freeze (or Refreeze)

Most discussions by experts have been about the Unfreezing and Intervening phases of the model, with the Refreezing phase not receiving much thought or attention.  Reason for inattention to the Refreezing phase may be the assumption that everything will fall into place itself once the intervening path is clearly followed—this is not the case.

This is where Change Transition Management plays its role.  The impact of the Change Transition is in the following 4 critical areas; identification and management of these areas can make managing Change Transition fairly smooth:

  1. Increased Accountability & Authority.
  2. Increased Experimentation.
  3. Changes in Job Content & Scope.
  4. Loss of Organizational Knowledge & Memory.

Let us delve a little more into some details of these 4 impact areas.

Increased Accountability & Authority

Change in its transition period allows managers more authority than they would have in a stable business environment.  On the other hand, expectations for them to deliver also go up.

The challenge for managers is not coping with Change but rather gaining a clear appreciation of their altered roles and responsibilities in relation to the limits of accountability, authority, and discretion.

Clarity can be gained through 2 Change Transition Tactics:

  1. Role Clarification & Negotiation Workshops.
  2. Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC).

Increased Experimentation

Change means a new manner in which tasks are accomplished.  Prematurely restricting staff who are finding new and efficient ways of getting the job done may harm the future organization.

Managers have to have tolerance for such experimentation because employees who indulge in it are, in effect, trying to find and test the new boundaries of the managerial operating envelope.  Care should be taken not to punish those who fail so as to make sure experimentation continues.

Changes in Job Content & Scope

During times of stability, a manager’s job consists of following set routines.  However, during times of Change and transition, a manager ought to be ready by being flexible enough to deal with any kind of situation.

Managers can be prepared for this alteration in their role through the deployment of 4 Change Transition Tactics:

  1. Conduct Problem Solving Training
  2. Focus on Learning
  3. Revamp Employee Orientation
  4. Establish a Change Communication System

Interested in learning more about Change Transition Management?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Change Transition Management here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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"The only constant in life is change." – Heraclitus

Such is true for life, as it is for business. The entire ecosystem our organization operates in—our customers, competitors, suppliers, partners, the company itself, etc.—is constantly changing and evolving. Change can be driven by emerging technology, regulation, leadership change, crisis, changing consumer behavior, new business entrants, M&A activity, organizational restructuring, and so forth.

Thus, the understanding of, dealing with, and mastery of the Change Management process is one of the most critical capabilities for our organization to develop. Excellence in Change Management should be viewed as a source of Competitive Advantage.

Learn about our Change Management Best Practice Frameworks here.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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