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Getting Started with a Change Management Office? 4 Key Aspects to Consider.

Recently, I was approached by a multinational headquartered in France and with a significantly large presence in India to consult on establishing and communicating a change management office. This office is expected to manage global transformation projects from afar bringing consistency, reliability and scale to the processes, systems and practices that empower the organization. Should be easy right?

Build a strategy, put a plan, align stakeholders and off you go! Not so.

Understanding readiness, preparing the ground, building resources, articulating goals, enabling leaders, overcoming resistances and much more need to be done before change takes off.

In this 3-part series, I share, how the function can address barriers to change, prepare the groundwork and lead change to success.

If you are part of a change management office or plan to get started with one, hopefully these insights may come in handy.

Let’s get started.

Why is Change Management Often Met with Resistance?

Have you ever wondered why 70% of change programs fail to meet their objectives? It’s a statistic highlighted by McKinsey, pointing to common barriers like employee resistance (39%), lack of management support (33%), and inadequate resources (14%). But understanding these obstacles is the first step toward overcoming them.

Consider the fundamental questions: How do you transform resistance into acceptance? How can a Change Management Office (CMO) demonstrate its value and influence within your organization? The journey begins with a strategic approach to change and communication.

1.    The Need for a Change Management Office

Creating a dedicated CMO is crucial. This office serves as the backbone for managing transitions effectively, ensuring all stakeholders are aligned with the organization’s goals. Yet, according to a Forbes report in 2020, one-third of American employees don’t even understand their company’s change initiatives. This gap highlights the importance of a strategic communication plan.

2.    Conducting a Change Assessment and Readiness Audit

Before diving into action, it’s essential to understand the current state of your organization. Conduct an audit to assess the need for change and how prepared your team is.

This step involves:

· Identifying project goals, purpose, and key people: Clearly define what you aim to achieve, why it is necessary, and who will be involved.

· Defining roles and responsibilities: Ensure everyone knows their part in the change process to avoid confusion and overlap.

3.    Governance and Engagement Model

Defining the approach to change is critical. Establish clear decision-making processes, progress reviews, and impact assessments.

This includes:

· Identifying key roles and sponsors: Appoint leaders who will champion the change and be accountable for its success.

· Outlining internal processes for smooth execution: Create a structured plan for how decisions will be made and how progress will be tracked.

4.    Creating a Risk Grid

Anticipating resistance and planning for it can prevent many common pitfalls. Develop a risk grid to address:

· Core resistances: Understand the main objections and barriers that might arise.

· Necessary resources: Identify what resources (time, money, personnel) will be required.

· Progress milestones: Set clear checkpoints to measure progress and make adjustments as needed.

Reflect and Share

Have you tried setting up a change management function in your organization? What were  biggest challenges you’ve faced when implementing change in your organization? How did you address them?

Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

In my next article, I will share more on building the groundwork, forming a coalition, and getting stakeholder buy-in.

Curious about how to apply these insights to your organization? Reach out and let’s start a conversation.

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