by Dawn-Marie Turner, PhD
In part one of this article I shared the benefits of using a change management methodology. In this article, I will share how combining the intangible people side of change with the concrete organizational elements of change can increase the value of your change management methodology. Successful change leaders understand the underlying dynamics of change. They have learned it is not enough simply to move through the steps of a methodology.
Change has two distinct dimensions. One dimension is the change event. The change event is visible and concrete, with a defined beginning and end. Some of the activities of managing the change event include, creating a vision or intended outcome, documenting processes, establishing a change management team, and implementing training. The other dimension is what I call the Whitespace. The Whitespace is intangible and internal to the individual. It has a less defined beginning and end. Some of the activities associated with this dimension include, enabling the conversations of change and facilitating the change process.
Due to the abstract or intangible nature of the Whitespace, it often gets overlooked in the typical project deliverable approach to managing change. When this happens you risk losing an essential element for change success. In the white space individuals turn knowledge about the change into the actions necessary to achieve and sustain the intended outcome.
Change affects the entire organization
Applying systems thinking to your change management efforts can help you get greater value from your change management methodology. In a systems approach the change is managed from the perspective of the whole organization and the people affected. From a systems perspective no organizational change is an isolated event.
Leaders who manage change from a systems-based approach know that every organizational change is like the pebble thrown into the pond. They know each change causes a ripple throughout the organization. These ripples can either increase or decrease your organization’s change capability.
The DEAM© methodology has been designed with the ripples in mind. It does not replace knowledge with a series of steps. DEAM©’s activities and processes support the iterative nature of the change process. It allows you to circle back to key activities to support individuals as they move through the change process and as you enable different levels of the organization to engage and commit to the change. It provides a structure to guide your knowledge of the change process, the response of the individuals involved and the context of the change for your organization.
If you are not using a systems based change management methodology (like DEAM©) here are three things to consider that may help you get more value from your methodology:
- Am I using the methodology to add structure and guide my knowledge of the change process?
- Have I incorporated the activities needed to facilitate within the white space with the activities needed to manage the change?
- Am I taking a systems view of the change for the organization and the people affected?