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Change Management in Use
Change the Way You Make Change 

Change the Way You Make Change – Change Management in Use

December 11, 2018

Change Management – we have all heard about it. But not everyone knows exactly why companies actively manage change processes. Our colleague Alexandra Binder and her team accompany our customers on their way to new shores. In this interview, Alexandra talks about the challenges she encounters along the way, and why old systems are most popular when it comes time to get rid of them.

Change Management – was is it actually?

For me, change management means attending to changes with the goal of integrating all the people affected as well as possible. We examine the human side of change processes and make sure those affected know what is happening when and how. Experience has shown that people are able to handle changes much better when they know why things are happening. In terms of acceptance, it's even better when people can contribute to changes themselves, of course.

What are typial projects that you accompany from a change management perspective? 

We support our customers when our IT mean changes for people. An ERP implementation in the Microsoft or SAP environment, for instance. Whenever people have to get used to changed systems, processes, or organizations, we make that easier and prevent negative implications such as rejection, confusion, or worry.

In your personal experience, do people tend to view changes skeptically or see them as an opportunity?

There are very different types of people. Some can handle changes well and view them as an opportunity to improve things. And then there are people who tend to be skeptical. Their motto is "Why do we have to change that? It's working!" We want to get both types involved and avoid losing anybody on the way to something new. Often we note that an old IT system is never more popular than when you want to get rid of it. Everyone has grumbled about it for years, but when something familiar is about to be taken away, all of a sudden nobody wants to let it go.

Our mission is to help ensure that our customers are satisfied with Sycor's solutions. This naturally works better when the employees actually want to use them. Then everyone remembers the project positively.

What sort of resistance are you faced with?

You have the loud ones who publicly denounce a project, for instance discounting it as a mere management notion. The typical response here is along the lines of "That's not going to work anyway, it never has in the past". When those people realize that the change is actually happening this time, the mood usually turns sour. Then there is hidden resistance. Things are done more slowly, less well, or not at all as a defense against change or simply due to ignorance. Sometimes people do not trust the new systems. So they might enter the data as usual in Excel, and only in the new system as a backup. Of course that is counterproductive. Dissatisfaction caused by changes is also a problem for companies because skilled workers are often able to choose their employer these days.

What change processes do you enjoy the most, and which ones not so much?

It's not much fun when results are unpleasant for some people. When employees are set to lose certain responsibilities, for example. Communicating as clearly as possible helps in that case. Clarity is definitely better than uncertainty.

The aspects you are dealing with do not necessarily determine what is most enjoyable. It is more about the people you are working with. When you see that you were able make a positive change – for instance, that employee integration in the company becomes more natural – that's enjoyable, of course.

What role does the company culture play in change processes?

A really major one! It determines whether a company values change management at all. There are some companies where employee involvement is disregarded. At Sycor, we don't want to leave our employees in the dark when changes occur. That is certainly down to company culture. Changes are generally easier or more difficult depending on the type of company culture – from traditional to modern, hierarchical to open.

The company culture also determines how we as change managers support changes. We analyze the company at the outset to see what people we'll be working with there and how to reach them most effectively.

Thank you for your time, Alexandra!

Change Management – Dos und Don’ts

That helps

  • Explain why a change is necessary and discuss the background – not everyone knows what you already know.
  • Tell people what is happening when, and what that means – unless you want speculation and rumors.
  • Maintain regular communication! Nothing new to report? Then say so – otherwise people will think you have forgotten them.
  • Get people involved. Ask for feedback, ideas, and participation – rather than guessing what others think or want.
  • Get managers involved so they can include their employees and put the changes into practice.

That is likely to fail

  • Only communicate advantages, even though disadvantages exist. You can count on nobody noticing it, and everyone will trust you next time anyway.
  • Force cultural and behavioral changes instead of convincing and motivating.
  • Don't ask what is unclear or causing dissatisfaction.
  • Don't provide information until you are 100% certain, and expect no one to notice the lack of information.

Your contact person

You are interested in our change management services and would like more information? Then please contact us. We are looking forward to your inquiry!

Nicolas Fiedel

Manager Change Management & Training
+49 551 490 2750

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