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Development will have to take place to integrate the business system.


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Decisions will be made about the physical arrangements of the newly formed organization. But getting people on board and participating in the change will make the difference. Individuals will have to do their jobs differently, and it is the degree to which they change their behaviors and processes that will make or break the merger or acquisition.

The soft side of change is many times actually the harder side of change. Learn the what, why and how of managing the people side of change with a structured approach to change management. Change management takes care of the people side of change. It does little good to create a new organization, design new work processes or implement new technologies if you leave the people behind. Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve its required business outcomes.

It is the systematic management of employee engagement and adoption when the organization changes how work will be done. For the given transformational effort, it is the strategy and set of plans focused on moving people through the change. For frontline supervisors, competency is related to coaching direct reports through their own change journey read more about the supervisor role and training.

Change management is not just communication or training. It is not just managing resistance. There are numerous reasons to employ effective change management on both large- and small-scale efforts. Here are three main reasons to employ change management:.

Why Change Management Matters

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about change exclusively from an organizational perspective. When one thinks about a merger or acquisition, they can focus on financial structuring, data and system integration and physical location changes. However, organizational change of any kind actually occurs one person at a time.

Success of an organization effort only occurs when Adam and Betty and Charles and Deborah for example do their jobs differently. Projects also suffer as due to missed deadlines, overrun budgets and unexpected and unnecessary rework to get the effort back on track. In some cases, the project itself is completely abandoned after large investments of capital and time.

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And each of these consequences can be addressed and mitigated if a project includes a structured approach to the people side of change. There is a growing body of data that shows the impact that effective change management has on the probability that a project meets its objectives. In other words, projects with excellent change management were six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management.

Regardless of the change at hand, focusing on the people side of change increases the likelihood of being successful. The individual perspective is an understanding of how people experience change. If an individual is missing any of these five building blocks, then the change will not be successful.

Indeed, when asked which role has had the greatest impact on transformation results, respondents across the organization cite CEOs most often. What really sets the more successful transformations apart, according to the results, is the involvement of frontline employees and their managers. Many companies seem to miss this: respondents rate these groups along with their human-resources leaders as the least engaged in transformations. At successful companies, though, respondents are much likelier to report visibly engaged frontline employees: 73 percent do, compared with 46 percent of all other respondents Exhibit 2.


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Not surprisingly, involving the front line is even more challenging at larger companies, where the rate of transformation success is also lower. Just 45 percent of respondents at larger firms, compared with 58 percent at smaller firms, say frontline employees are visibly engaged in transformations. The same is true of line managers: respondents at bigger companies are less likely than their smaller-company peers to say their line managers—who oversee frontline work and whose activities are directly affected by transformation initiatives—are engaged in the effort.

Yet their involvement and perspective could not be more critical: among transformations that fail to engage either line managers or frontline employees, only 3 percent of respondents report success. Only 39 percent of all respondents—and 11 percent at companies with failed transformations—say so. One way to build ownership is with effective communication, which emerged in earlier work as a key factor of transformation success.

How to Grow Your Business with Tools for Change

In our previous survey, 6 6. In the previous survey, fielded in November , an identical share of respondents 44 percent also said they would move faster to counteract resistance from people who opposed the changes being made. When asked which factors have been most effective, they also select communication-related actions often.

But frontline employees sometimes differ from other respondents about which actions have actually worked Exhibit 4. But nearly twice the share of frontline respondents say the same. Still, the most successful companies are much better than others at creating clear lines of communication Exhibit 5. Respondents at successful companies are also likelier than others to report that CEOs and senior leaders are visibly engaged and committed to the transformation.

We asked survey respondents about seven specific roles at their organizations and the extent to which the people in these roles fulfilled specific practices that, in our experience, best support a transformation. The results suggest that each of these roles has unique value to add and that, when everyone contributes, the odds of transformation success are much greater.

But what does the right role look like? According to respondents, company leaders contribute most to a transformation when they articulate a vision and communicate actively.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

A transformation is 5. The leaders of program-management offices have the greatest impact on success when they identify barriers to change and circulate knowledge, while the leaders of transformation initiatives are likeliest to make a difference when they take full ownership of their individual initiatives.

With respect to human-resources leaders, respondents report that their role is relatively small. Only 56 percent of respondents say this group was visibly engaged, compared with 85 percent who say so of other senior leaders. Change agents, in contrast, appear to have a notable impact on success. Less than half of respondents say their organizations select these employees, who dedicate a significant part of their time to work as facilitators or agents of the transformation. But those who do report overall success more often than other respondents—and are twice as likely to report success at transforming their organizational cultures.

How to Be a Successful Change Leader

Change agents have the greatest impact on success when they model new mind-sets and behaviors for others including the front line to follow and when they support employees to develop the capabilities and mind-set changes they need to succeed in the new environment. In addition to defining specific roles—and identifying how employees can contribute most to a transformation—companies also need to move people around and even out of the organization, though in moderation.


  1. ATM switches?
  2. Look beyond the C-suite;
  3. What is a Change Management Process??
  4. 2. Determine the Optimal Speed of Change.
  5. In organizations where senior leaders replace uncommitted people, 29 percent of transformations succeed, compared with 6 percent where leaders keep those people in place. Compared with transformations that fail to improve performance or culture, these successful transformations are also likelier to bring in new talent and move people internally, rather than moving them out Exhibit 7.

    In response to some of the challenges that the survey results revealed, here are a few steps that companies can take to support the success of their transformations:.

    Choosing Strategies for Change

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    10 Change Management Best Practices for a Successful Journey

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