Change management, which is often a subject covered in an organizational development degree program, involves specific activities that drive individual and group transitions that meet intended objectives and outcomes. Change managers ensure that effective controls and solutions are developed, monitored and maintained to ensure the project’s integrity and success.

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Tools of the Trade

Change managers use industry standard tools for different stages of the assigned project. They may start out with a budget analysis to verify fund availability or a readiness assessment to determine employee and organizational willingness to change. In order to accomplish this, the change manager must assess the organization’s culture, value system and the background of the impacted people. This will reveal what level and complexity of resistance may be expected. Resistance management refers to the tools and processes used by managers to understand and minimize employee opposition. Change managers usually elicit assertive sponsorship from top business leaders to build a coalition of support from management and acceptance from employees.

What Does Change Management Involve?

Managing change can be divided into different aspects. First, resource management by identifying needs and obtaining appropriate approvals, funds, personnel, and supplies. Second, staff management by selecting, developing and deploying employees in the most effective way to meet objectives. This may include HR activities like compensation decisions, employee recognition, and regular performance feedback and management. Third, planning and partnerships through determining goals, setting proprieties, anticipating threats, collaboration with leaders and reconciling policy issues. Fourth, regular reporting to clients and teams regarding progress, roadblocks, opportunities, and achievements. Fifth, encouraging innovation, efficient approaches, cost-effective decisions, and sustainable solutions.

Change Manager

There are many career opportunities in change management. A change manager may be responsible for leading a range of process improvement programs and process management activities. These are usually related to the planning, performing and implementing improvement initiatives and operational objectives. These may represent a major project, such as a streamlining a corporate merger or may represent individualized departmental projects, such as customer service enhancement. Process management usually includes data analysis, process mapping, recommending alternatives, best practice research, developing performance metrics, obtaining stakeholder agreement and monitoring post-improvement performance. There are change management jobs in strategic consulting, talent management, corporate development, and performance improvement.

Recommended Education

Most business professionals who work in change management have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This could be in a common field, such as human resources and business administration, or specialized fields like strategic innovation, organizational development, and industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology. For example, an organizational development degree will teach students the major skills, concepts, and techniques used to support, research and facilitate organizational change. After graduation, students will know how to strategically lead small and large group change initiatives in nonprofits, businesses and government agencies. Graduates will understand group dynamics, appreciative inquiry, project management, data diagnosis, process consultation and facilitating teamwork.

Anyone who wants a career in change management will need to have quality work experience and educational credentials to impress corporate leaders. This could be an organizational development degree or certificate.