This article provides information describing the Change Management process.   Major digital marketing projects can induce significant change to an organization.  Changes can include adoption of new technology (CRM reconfigurations), and new sales processes to handle newly generated leads.

Jain & Company provides expert guidance to their clients on how to assimilate the business change driven by significant marketing program implementations.

We specifically focus on how change management techniques apply when new programs, projects, and initiatives are implemented. The benefits of using change management techniques include reduced risk, faster delivery, decreased budget, and more effective human resource management. These techniques are codified business practices and have specific tactics for use. We engage them as part of our fundamental approach to steering new initiatives to successful outcomes.

Organizational change management needs occur, for example, during shifts in company strategy, the addition of new products or services, or as a result of changes to marketing, sales, operations, and financial systems.

The impact of positive change management will extend up and down the organization. From the top down, these tactics help management to become 360-degree leaders and step beyond the limitations of daily work management. From the bottom up, the application of change management tactics improves the participation outcomes of project team members.

We make sure our prospective and current clients understand what is to come when we deliver programs, projects, or initiatives that induce change. There will always be positive aspects of the business change to look forward to.  There are also risks to be aware of and mitigated by good consulting practices. Effective delivery begins with planning for change management in advance. There are conceptual models to apply that consistently produce the best outcomes for our clients.

What is the organizational Change Management Curve?

The Change Management Curve describes the probable impact of business change. There are three stages of progression when change is induced into an organization.  Practically without fail, these three stages will be experienced to one extent or another.  They include:

  • The Honeymoon Period
  • The Valley of Dissonance, Despair, or Destruction
  • Adaptation to organizational change then stable growth in program effectiveness

The Honeymoon Period

The Honeymoon Period starts with no expectations until the project concept is introduced. Once the concept is introduced, project participants tend to get excited about the prospects of new business methods, approaches, programs, and processes being developed and deployed. Program participants often get very excited about how the new aspects of an organization’s operation will impact their business lives.

This period usually extends throughout the early consulting services period where changes are being planned, designed, and mapped out for deployment.  The Honeymoon Period is characterized by opinions such as “this is going to be great!”  Then deployment of new strategies, processes, and programs begin.

The different Valley Periods

Three Valleys can then occur:

  • The Valley of Dissonance
     In this valley, resources involved in the change can become mildly worried or even resentful of the impact of the new programs on their work habits, assignments, reporting structures, and productivity expectations. General unrest can occur.
  • The Valley of Despair

In this valley, resources working within the change management curve can become deeply concerned that the program is beyond their capabilities to execute. The goals seem potentially unattainable, the change requested is too much, or the impact on the organization is not vital enough to substantiate the effort are examples of negative impactor beliefs.  A mild ‘revolt’ seems possible.

  • The Valley of Destruction

In this valley, the change-inducing project fails.  The organization and its project participants decide the change-driving program should not be continued.  Current work approaches and organizational systems remain the same, and no positive change occurs.  The end to the program deployment comes. Bad feelings often remain.

Stable change and peaking

Within companies that make it through their valley, a period of increasing change and acceptance is achieved.  New processes and programs take hold. Human resource efficiency and effectiveness increase.  Teamwork stabilizes to new levels, and a higher level of organizational effectiveness is reached. This continues to a peaking point that justifies the program implementation efforts and investments.

What consulting techniques should be applied?

Minimize the Honeymoon Period spike

Ironically, the first tactic in dealing with the reactions to the proposed change is not to get people’s expectations set too high. This seems counterproductive, but the point is to keep expectations reasonable.  It has been demonstrated that the height of the peak during the Honeymoon Period often determines the depth of the ensuing valley.  Consulting communications to the organization are thus held to calm levels, proactive versus hype expectations are set, and over-done promises are avoided.

Clearly set the vision for organizational change outcomes

Documenting the current state of performance and acknowledging why change is important is a good first step.  Then, this technique of documenting positions us to explain “why we are going to go through this”. This technique is a key aspect of our consulting approach.  We can often show proof that other projects of this nature have succeeded.  Our delivery experts create timelines for project deployment, so people know there is a positive end in sight. A well-defined, documented, and budgeted project is a hallmark of our delivery method.

Educate people in advance of the change management curve

Educating people in advance is a primary impactor on the navigation of the Valley Period.  Sharing the change management graph with employees is highly recommended. This action pre-programs expectations that some level of difficulty may indeed come, but the organization is prepared to weather it, so they should be too. One of our consulting techniques is to outline specific ways the organization will support the change effort. This could include, for example, describing ways the organization will specifically support the efforts of program deployment.  We will be on a close lookout for opportunities for new training and job activity assistance during the period of change.

Put positive motivators in place

We will also recommend that positive motivators are explicitly defined and tangible benefits are attached to reaching new performance states. Placing clear indicators and measurements of organizational improvement can improve employee attitudes as the valley is worked through.  We also recommend positive individual behaviors be acknowledged publically.

What Is the best way to start?

Our consulting approach is founded on three principles of preparation for change management:

  • Communicate, but don’t overdo it
  • Keep it consistent and respectful to the current workloads and time availability
  • Identify the ‘early adopters’
  • Position them to be evangelists and empathizers during the Valley Period
  • Show the leadership group is aware of the organizational change 
  • Have them publically express support of the programs on a consistent basis

Our projects have a wonderfully high success ratio because we recognize the change management curve in advance and communicate effectively.

We set realistic boundaries on project scope and duration, then closely manage the deployment activities to negotiate the valley and reach steady-state improvement.