5 ways to make Change Management make sense

capability change leadership change management confidence engagement organisational change stakeholder engagement Nov 08, 2022
Lata in green shirt in front of computer; text: 5 ways to make change management make sense

Not everyone's an expert in Change Management, and you'll come across a lot of people who don't actually know what Change is. They may have heard the term before, or say they've "been through it" (because it's been used as a nicer way of saying "restructure", "redundancies" or "operating model change"). 


But real Change, good Change, end-to-end holistic Change - there's a reason Change Management is a whole profession in and of itself. Because it's important, powerful, and actually quite specialist.


So - how do you help others understand Change Management and make sense of what you do, why you do it, and what Change support you're trying to provide so they actually:

a) listen to you

b) help you help them

c) come to you for advice and support?


Here's a few things that I try to keep in mind whenever I'm trying to explain Change Management, what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. 


#1 Keep it super simple

I define Change Management so simply - maybe TOO simply - as "Moving people from doing things in one way to doing things another." There are a lot more complex definitions of Change Management out there, but honestly, if I'm talking to people who don't even know what organisational change is, what a stakeholder is, what a project is, keeping it super simple is key. It's also a great way to level-set everyone, because there's people who think they know what Change is and they actually don't have good reference points or they have the wrong reference points (for example - taking system changes through the ITIL CAB process is technical change not organisational change). Don't assume - just explain you want everyone on the same page and define things super simply.


#2 Focus on the big vision

So much of the time Change Management is misunderstood (or worse, resisted) simply because we dive too quickly into all the stuff we need to do: tools, templates, impact assessments, communications, training, readiness, launching, reviews, embedding. It feels like more work, more effort, more noise, more fatigue, more overwhelm. That's why I always recommend focusing on a big picture vision of the experience you want your teams to have when the change is implemented successfully. Getting people connected to that, then showing that the Change Management activities you plan is the path to get there, can help people make sense of what we're doing and why.


#3 Avoid change jargon

Working on projects comes with a whole heap of new terminology that can send even the savviest stakeholder batty. Add change jargon into the mix and a lot of leaders and team members can totally switch off. So swapping out terms and phrases when you're speaking to business teams can be a great way to clear the air and the confusion. Instead of asking: "How will this impact you?" try: "How will this affect you?" Instead of calling people "stakeholders", simply call them "people" or talk about "leaders and teams". Instead of saying "behavioural change", try "new ways of working" or "new ways of doing things". I actually avoid the word "sustain" and "sustainability" completely when talking about Change because I think it confuses too many people with "environmental sustainability". I opt for a word like "embed", but even that is pretty Change-heavy so sometimes I just say "doing it into the future" or "paving the way for the future".


#4 Use readability tools

No matter who you're writing to, even senior leaders and executives, keep your readability (how easy it is to read) simple. Something I share with my Leading Successful Change students is to actually use online tools, called readability tools, where you can copy/paste your text into the tool and see what reading level it comes out at. If you're coming out at a higher reading level than Year 9 / 14-15 year olds, see what words can you taper down. You're wanting your message to land, so you need people to easily understand it and not get caught up on long or complex words (even if they aren't Change-related).


#5 Focus on the Big 3

Sometimes you can do more by doing less. If you're really working with a team that is super new to Change, trying to do a lot of Change activity with them can be overwhelming and off-putting. There is nothing wrong with focusing on the Big 3 (Impact Assessment, Change Roadmap, and Business Readiness Check) as your core Change deliverables and holding off some of the other more advanced Change support for the future or for future changes.


So that's 5 ways to help Change Management make sense to your people - no matter what they know (or think they know!) about Change.


I'll be sharing more simple, savvy ways to step into your change leadership potential and engage stakeholders with ease on my upcoming free "Navigating Change with Clarity and Confidence" webinar. It's on next week - Wednesday 16 November and spots are filling up fast. 


CLICK HERE to register your free spot on Navigating Change with Clarity and Confidence webinar


Lata xx

Free Coaching Action Guide :  Underpaid & Overlooked

If you're thinking about a pay rise, promotion or full career change, download my free "Underpaid & Overlooked Coaching Action Guide" now to change with confidence and earn your worth.

By completing this form, you'll join my mailing list for info and marketing and can unsubscribe at any time.