Guest Column | June 7, 2018

Change Management Versus Change Leadership

By John Hamilton, President, Service Strategies Corp.

Change Management

Service organizations are under constant pressure to improve their service quality and be more efficient. In order to achieve these objectives, change is required whether it be minor process improvements or major upgrades of technology and systems. The necessary changes required for the service organization to evolve and be successful hinges on how rapidly the organization embraces change.

Typically, whenever a company upgrades its technology systems such as CRM or Service Management infrastructure, a project plan is developed, and project manager assigned to oversee the implementation of the new system. Unfortunately, all too often change management is not considered until the latter phases of the project when it becomes obvious that the system is not performing as designed because the people are not onboard.  According to John Kotter, more than 70 percent of change initiatives fail,” and this is due primarily due to human resistance to change.

Understanding Change Management Concepts

Change management is the technique a company uses to manage the people, technology, and process through a change event to achieve a required business result. When a company introduces a change to the organization, there will be impact on one or more of these items (people, technology, process). While there are countless methods and tools a company can utilize to approach change, it is important to understand all options so you can leverage the most appropriate tools and methods to produce the desired change result.

Why is Change Management Needed?

There are several reasons why an organization must adopt change management process and tools when change occurs. Some less experienced business leaders look at change management as unnecessary overhead while the more experience leaders recognize that any change, regardless of how small, will have an impact on the organization. Here are three imperatives for change management

  • Increase the likelihood and probability that any given change will be successful
  • Help to manage the employees that may be resistant when change occurs
  • Improve the organizations ability to adjust to change by increasing the change competencies in the team

Why is change so hard?

Change management is all about people. When change occurs, it is the individuals of a team that must change how they do their jobs. If these employees are unsuccessful adjusting during the change transition, the change event will fail. However, if the employees can embrace and adopt the change, the organization is more likely to have a successful result.

Change Leadership Versus Change Management

As we reviewed earlier, change management is the technique a company uses to manage the people, technology and process through a change event to achieve a required business result. It also includes the tools, processes and structure required to maximize the potential for a successful change to occur. One of the goals of change management is to minimize the distraction and pain of the change event.

Change Leadership on the other hand is completely different. It entails a leader’s ability to harness human passion and energy to successfully execute when change occurs. The leader is responsible for helping the team work through the change to ensure that the envisioned change comes to life. Another goal of change leadership is to make sure that the change is sustainable and not short lived.

Change Leadership responsibilities are:

  • Aligning the change to the mission, vision and values
  • Building a sense of urgency
  • Establishing measurable goals and metrics
  • Continually building and confirming understanding and support
  • Building capacity for change to occur
  • Empowering action and ensuring accountability

There is a new Service Leadership training program that evaluates the most common change management models, Kotter, Prosci, Kubler-Ross, Rogers etc., and provides guidance on the five key phases in change management to execute on a successful change initiative. The four-day training course teaches participants advanced leadership skills and provides the tools to fully develop and execute a comprehensive strategy for their service organizations.

You can learn more here: