For most small companies, the goal is to become bigger. It is rare that a small business will want to maintain its size without having some sort of goal for growth in the future. When the day comes that an organization needs to start analyzing their business and implementing changes with their staff and processes, there are several models that are available for them to choose from. Change management models are techniques that have been tried and tested in large and small businesses that have a proven track record in guiding a company through major changes, and detail ways of engaging the staff in these changes. Some models are suitable for larger companies where staff feedback may not be as important as a smaller company. The leaders of an organization are responsible for choosing the best change management program and implementing it successfully.
A very popular management model available to organizations is the McKinsey 7-S model which aims to strengthen seven aspects of an organization. Those aspects are strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff and skills. The model analyzes these seven aspects of a business to find any gaps in productivity that can be fixed. As a business grows, the leaders of that organization need to continuously evaluate the changes and ensure the processes in the company are keeping up with the new dynamic. This management model consists of hard elements and soft elements.
Hard elements of the McKinsey model include those internal processes that are easy to identify. Hard elements include:
- Strategy: The strategy outlines the steps a company needs to take to remain competitive in its industry. The steps a company develops to implement that plan is its strategy.
- Structure: The structure of an organization can be one of several models, but the most prominent is a hierarchy where there are different departments that all answer to a common board of directors or CEO. The structure gives every employee a roadmap of how the company is structured and who reports to who.
- Systems: This hard element is the daily workflow of the business and what the workforce does operationally day in and day out.
Soft elements are those intangible processes that are not as easy to identify. Soft elements include:
- Shared values: The standards of a company that influence the interactions of the workforce. These shared values typically define what acceptable behavior looks like in an organization.
- Style: Management style is important in determining how the leaders of an organization interact with their teams. It influences the performance of the employees and creates the corporate culture.
- Staff: Staff are all of those who work for a business at all levels, including the board. The McKinsey model looks at how many people work for a company and what motivates them. It also looks at how prepared the staff are to do their jobs.
- Skills: Skills are the talents the workforce of a company possesses. The skills of the employees in a business need to match up with what is required for the business to achieve its objectives.
The soft element of skill is an especially important one if your staff are not fully trained in new and innovative ways to do business that makes a company competitive in the market. It is a good idea for the leaders of the company to acquire a masters in business management online that can be coordinated with their day-to-day duties. This type of degree can fit in with most busy professionals’ schedules and can be done in their own time and at their own speed. According to Forbes, modern executives need to understand change management models to help make their organizations competitive in today’s market.
Lewin’s change management model attempts to separate the process into three steps that include:
- Unfreeze: This step analyzes how the processes in a company are currently working. It is best to let the staff know what you are doing so everyone can understand their role.
- Change: When you start to implement change in this process, it is best to have open communication with everyone involved so they are aware of their role.
- Refreeze: This stage is where a plan is formulated, and it is communicated to staff to implement the plan within a specific timeframe. This way everyone is on board with the new plan and old mistakes are less likely to reappear. This step could include the implementation of software applications that make the business more streamlined.
Kotter’s theory emphasizes the urgency with which a company needs to change. There are eight steps to Kotter’s change management theory, including:
- Increased urgency.
- Recruiting a guiding team.
- Developing the vision.
- Communicating the required buy-in.
- Empowering action.
- Developing quick wins.
- Building on the change.
- Making the change stick.
The one criticism of this model that is common is that it does not ask for feedback from employees, which can cause discontent among the staff.
Bridges transition model considers changes in the organization as transitions and considers the employees’ feelings about change.
Endings: Employees accept the changes that are about to be implemented.
Neutral zone: This describes the time period between the old processes being phased out and the new processes being implemented, where employees are learning their new roles.
It is never easy to implement change in any organization, especially when the workforce is resistant to the idea. That is why following a change management model can make the job of analyzing deficiencies and employing new processes systematic and straightforward. Some change management models are more effective for smaller companies where the leadership needs the staff to be invested in the change and therefore more involved in the process. Other models do not require staff feedback. Whichever one a company chooses to follow, implementing change is never easy, so it is best to follow an existing model.