Rick's Reflections | 6 Guidelines to Determine Change Management Scalability

How much change management do I need?

Over the past few years, I’ve observed a number of new tools, techniques and strategies that change management thought leaders have introduced to reinforce the effective applications that demonstrate the real value of well-managed change. These actions are not just prompted by great new ideas but are in direct response to change management questions and challenges from our clients – the companies going through organizational changes every day. This is an encouraging indicator from our thought leaders that the change management discipline is getting stronger and maturing.

However, it does trigger a common question among clients, “How much change management methodology do we really need to apply?” Most of those responsible for scoping project management and change management milestones, and other tasks related to resources and timing, have probably pondered similar thoughts. In my change management engagements, my goal is to always recommend scale that is accurately sufficient to get the job done. The recommendation needs to be able to achieve the intended outcomes and goals without over-engineering or over-resourcing the effort.  Emerging change management practitioners often struggle with this challenge.  Yes, it’s important to never skip a step in the change management methodology or undermine the discipline.  However, we don’t want to do more than is absolutely necessary, since we often need to balance other important responsibilities and resources.

Simply, the real answer is you need as much change management as you need. As you become more experienced, your response may become more intuitive and less calculated. You will be able to quickly assess where you will need greater emphasis and application of change management methodology and where you’ll be just fine applying the basics. In the meantime, I offer you guidelines based on my twenty years of experience:


Six Guidelines to Determine Change Management Scalability

  1. Scope – the number of people and business units, transformational vs. incremental
  2. Complexity – difficulty, SME requirements, behavior change requirements
  3. Impact – degree of change in Structure, Process, People, Culture
  4. Sponsorship – leadership support, skill and will, clarity of role and responsibilities
  5. Clarity of the Desired State – defined to what level, ‘translation’ and support required
  6. Resistance – who, what, why, intensity


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