What is change management and what can you actually do with it?




If you ask any person if he/she is open to change management, the answer will most likely be “Yeah, change is good.” Or “Yes, because otherwise we stand still and standstill is regression”. And if most people then have this (limiting?) conviction, how can it be that much of a change process dies in beauty? Or goes out like a night candle? We often look for the cause in the resources (the new IT system is not working), the (higher) management or the external party that “never felt our culture properly

What is change management?

Change management is the form of management that is concerned with changing the structure, culture and working methods within organisations. Change management focuses mainly on the ‘how’ of change. In other words, how can we prepare, guide and support individuals to make changes within the organisation successful?

change management

As a rule, people and organisations are not geared towards change. And that’s funny because when you ask someone if they want to change, the majority will answer positively. Until you try to bring about real change management, then you suddenly have to deal with unexpected resistance and opposition.

People make the success


change management

Any professional who has tried to bring about change or improvement will agree that people make or break the success of the change. The extent to which a change is accepted and supported is directly related to its success. We don’t say ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast for nothing. Change management is the discipline that is aimed at guiding the change process in people. And that makes change management a crucial part of any change process.

Change management and the ability to change

Many people see ‘change’ as a catch-all term, which makes a substantive definition difficult. ‘Change’ is related to terms and concepts such as ‘organisational development‘, ‘learning’ and ‘implementation’. These associations are all correct. Change is about sailing a new course. Every organisation has its own learning curve. Falling back, adjusting and starting over, it’s all part of it. Many complex factors play a role, both on an individual level and on a team and organisational level. Every organisation has the ability to change, yet many attempts at successful change still fail.

Continuous improvement

The solution? “Change is the only constant.” This is not a clincher, but a vision that is gaining ground. Organising and managing is also ‘changing’, time and again. More and more organisations strive for continuous improvement, read continuous change. Ideally, it is a normal part of business operations. Change management is an integral process that no longer only focuses on the technical aspects and the organisational structure. No, the ‘soft side’ of change is becoming increasingly important. The employees largely determine the success of a change. Because, the greater the support for initiatives, the better the implementation of the change will go.

Change is not looking at what is going wrong. No, it is looking at opportunities and possibilities. Lean and Six Sigma are methods that help you to steer a change process in the right direction. Do you want to know what is possible within your organisation and how Lean and Six Sigma can offer support? We regularly organise the free workshop ‘What is Lean Six Sigma?’ In addition, you can always contact us via 020-345 3015 or via the form below.

Successful change

What all these statements have in common is that they are spoken by people. And the reason that makes a change successful or less successful is the human factor. Man makes or breaks. A direct link can therefore be made between people’s behaviour and successful or less successful change.

Looking at what is needed for a successful change, we really only need to look around us, at the behaviour of the individuals who go through this change. From new work instructions to full-blown culture change processes. The human being, and more specifically the behaviour, is the indicator.

What is change management?

Change management is the discipline that determines how we prepare, equip and support individuals to implement change successfully.

While all changes are unique and all individuals are unique, decades of research show that we can take action to influence people in their individual transitions. Change management offers a structured approach to support the individuals in your organisation to move from their current state to their future state.

Kurt Lewin Change Model in change management

History of change management

Change management, as a formal discipline, has been around since the 1990s. However, references to change and change management can be found in the psychological literature more than 40 years earlier. Psychologists described ‘change’ as the unfreezing, moving, and refreezing of thoughts or behaviour. These developments described how people internalised change and their experience with it, although the researchers did not apply these concepts to an organisational setting.

Change management in the 90s

It was not until the 1990s that the subject of change and change management was applied to organisations. Executives and leaders took note of the new wave of articles and books such as John Kotter’s “Leading Change” and Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese”. As the 1990s were marked by globalisation and rapid technological advancement, the need to manage change was critical to a company’s success. 

For example,  it underwent rapid global and technological changes in the 1980s and 1990s under the new leadership of Jack Welch .† Welch understood the importance of change management and dedicated his senior leadership to developing tools and techniques to integrate the principles of change management into his massive enterprise. His initiatives were so successful that GE set up its own consultancy to help other organisations with their change.

When change management came into being, there were three important concepts for organisational change:

Lean manufacturing, aimed at increasing efficiency;

Business process reengineering, aimed at restructuring business processes and structures. Sociotechnical, aimed at improving the functioning of people in an organisation.

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