As I mentioned in a previous post I want to teach math. This past semester I was student teaching. During the course of my time student teaching, I was involved in more than a few meetings. Two of the meetings I was involved in demonstrated why everyone should care about change management.
What is change management?
This is a great question. Change management is the process of ensuring that everyone involved with a change has the support and resources necessary to successfully implement and fully adopt the change. This encompasses understanding why the change is being implemented and what all the possible reactions to that change could be.
It may seem like change management is something only needed in certain industries and situations. It might seem like change management is something big companies use, but is unnecessary for a small business. This is not the case. I realized this in two building-wide meetings I attended at my school.
The first meeting highlighted some ways change management can go wrong. One of the features of the school’s schedule was being re-structured. Many of the teachers were not excited about the change. The person presenting the change did not do a good job of bringing them on board. She did not discuss the rationale behind the schedule change. The teachers needed to hear that why. This needed to connect back to the mission of the school. I think many of the teachers were wanting an acknowledgement from the leadership that it was going to be messy. They felt like the administration's expectations did not account for the growing pains of implementing this new structure. Eventually this came, but not before some teachers were feeling unsupported. This made the whole change process more messy and frustrating than it needed to be. If you are a senior leader, there are certain messages people need to hear from you. Check out this webinar for more information.
The second meeting was an example of effective change management. The person leading the meeting explained why they were changing the process used for evaluating and providing feedback to teachers. They spent a lot of time explaining that this better aligned with the vision of the school, by highlighting the overlap. They explained that this would make life easier for the teachers. They explained that there would be specific time to work on this new change to make sure it was fully implemented. The attitude in the room was noticeably different than in the first meeting. The attitude in the room was far more positive and supportive than it had been in the first meeting. Even though the teachers were still wary, they seemed ready to get on board.
Why it Matters
These two examples demonstrate why knowing about change management is so important. No matter where you work or what industry you are in, something is going to change. It might be a big change or a small change, but it will change. Without change management, people can feel burned out and unsupported. Change management can help prevent or alleviate that possibility. Change management plans for the different kinds of reactions to the change. This way, everyone can feel supported and understood. In short, change management makes change better and more bearable.