In every company, in every project, change will occur from time to time. Sometimes the change is minor and at other times in can be described as massive. The best way to describe change is a movement from one state or situation to another. The new state is a future state, a place or situation which has not yet arrived or been developed. And the movement from one state to another, the change, can affect individuals, teams or even an entire organization. And heading up this change, this move to another state is the change manager. He or she is responsible for the smooth transition to the new situation.
The main task of the change manager is to assist staff in making the change. The change should be user-friendly, gentle with as few teething problems as possible. The whole process needs to be planned and executed with a minimum of fuss and hopefully a seamless continuation of the work load of all concerned. Sometimes a project itself will encounter difficulties or a situation where change will be required. So within the project team, the change manager will understand what is required and then arrange for project members to be guided through the transition to the new state, the changed situation.
Change can take a number of different forms. There can be a change in strategy, in operation, in goals, in mission, in behaviour and in the technology being used. A change manager is not necessarily an expert in any of these specific areas but needs to understand the basics of the change, why it is being recommended and most importantly, who will be affected by the change. Then the change manager creates a process whereby those who need to change are assisted to make the move. Throughout this entire process the running of the business should continue with as little interruption as possible, well at least continue to operate as smoothly as possible.
The change manager has now become an essential part of many organizations. The work of the change manager is now a science with many research projects examining the role and its importance. It is a multidisciplinary role taking into account financial management, leadership strategy, performance indicators and human behaviour as just some of its components.
A talented and experienced change manager will be able to mount a case for the business benefits of a proposed change, will be an effective communicator in informing all affected staff of the proposed change, have people skills to deal with staff who oppose the proposed change and act as counsellor and adviser to those who feel hard done by when the change is put into effect.
A change manager has teaching skills being able to discuss details of the proposed change and instruct staff on the impact which will result. And finally the change manager will be a reporter, a person who can monitor the results of the change and report this information to those in leadership positions. With the potential cost benefits of proposed changes, the change manager has a highly responsible and influential position within the company.
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