The 3 C’s of Change Management

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Change ManagementOften, when an organization embarks on a large-scale culture change or transformation, there is so much detail and information to digest when there is only one thing the people involved really want to know:

“What does that mean for me?”

Before they get any clarification on this question, they may struggle to interpret anything else you are trying to communicate.

The three-C principle can help you overcome this change management challenge

Managers should ensure the changes they are communicating are clear, compelling, and credible. In doing so, they will cut to the heart of their transformation efforts – the “whys” behind the “whats” – that will make change management personal for everyone involved.

Clear

Your first step in implementing a change management initiative should be to ensure your messaging is well defined.

Use simple language.

Spell out what the transformation will entail on both the personal and the organizational level and be specific about what needs to change.

Compelling

It can be tempting to think of transformation in terms of the transactions, processes, and systems that need to change. But don’t get too far ahead of things.

Change is about people.

You need people to implement the technical sides of change, so before you can hope to get there, you need to make a strong case for why they should want to change.

Credible

Fear and doubt are natural human reactions to change, whether positive or negative. Imagine if I told you that you just won a large sum of money. On the surface, that’s a good thing. But you may immediately question if I’m telling the truth, and if so, what’s the catch?

To accept the message as positive, you need to build trust.

Trust in an organization happens when there is an active engagement of leaders at all levels. It’s not enough for the CIO to build and champion a case for culture change. He or she needs to convince both informal leaders and influencers throughout the organization, as well, and ensure messaging is clear and consistent at all levels. That way, individuals can turn to someone they trust to better understand the change. This, in turn, builds credibility of the messaging.

That’s why, I believe, transformation of any kind is more about culture and communication than change management.

Why the three C’s matter for successful change management

I’ve personally seen the adverse effects when leadership neglects to follow the three-Cs approach as part of a change management initiative. I certainly understand that it takes more time and effort to ensure changes are clear, compelling, and credible, but it’s worth it.

For instance, often there is a strong understanding and consensus among C-suite and their most forward-thinking leaders, who are all supportive of the change. But when it comes to the people who are executing on the change – the customer-facing staff and those in other areas of the business – they don’t hear the same messaging or understand the change in the context of their work. And as a result, there is a gap between what leadership says and what the business sees from on a day-to-day basis. This negatively impacts your credibility as a leader.

It is the responsibility of the leadership to ensure change is implemented at all levels. The three-Cs principle can help you get there.

 

This is an excerpt from an article by Jen Skrabak, PMP, PfMP, which first appeared on The Enterprisers Project, and has been shared under the CC-BY-SA license.

Read the full story here – 3 Ways to Make IT Changes More Palatable