Every change management process needs change management tools to work well. Processes are like recipes. No matter the recipe, or who uses it, there will be common tools.
The same holds true for these processes. They have common tools regardless of the change management consultant. True, the names might differ for marketing or trademarking purposes. He might have added his own refinements. Still, they share similar features and purposes.
Three Types of Change Management Tools
In general, there are three types of change management tools:
The beginning of the change effort makes more use of the strategic tools. They involve researching, assessing and strategizing. The analytic tools help picture, quantify and measure the change. Planning tools organize and run the effort.
Strategic Change Management Tools
The focus of this post is on strategic change management tools. They involve researching assessing and strategizing.
1. Organizational Cultural Assessment
Organizational cultures are different. They are the terrain upon which change works. The change effort needs to be tailored to the culture. Some are more open to change than others.
The findings will affect what process and tools the change will use. For instance, highly collaborative change processes and tools waste time in a command-and-control culture. Excess communication will come at the expense of detailing processes and procedures.
2. Change Readiness Assessment
Sometimes organizational culture assessments include a change readiness assessment. Standalone assessments do exist though. A culture that is open to change differs from one that is ready for it. This assessment focuses on the latter.
For instance, a period of crisis tends to create high readiness, a period of success low readiness. The tool helps in two ways. It helps set a timetable for change and set the amount of change that the group can handle.
3. Network Mapping
This tool helps to identify the relationships and politics in a group. Its results shape strategy and the internal communication and marketing plans.
For instance, it show who people think are the:
- Collaborators (Communicators)
- Subject matter experts
- Change agents
Historically, interviews and employee surveys developed a general network map. Today, software options exist. It collects data via online questions and uses data analytics. Regardless of the method, the keys are the questions asked of employees and the data analysis.
4. Change Management Strategy
A change management strategy is a common and indispensable change management tool. It helps in three main ways. It guides the:
- Selection of the right change management process
- Use of the other tools
- Decisions that do not fit neatly into a process or tool
It is hard to plan for every contingency in a change effort. The strategy serves as its compass. When employees are lost or uncertain, refocus on the strategy will help them find their way.
Other Change Management Tools
The focus of this post was on strategic change management tools. Again, regardless of the consultant or process, the change effort will likely use versions of these tools. It is hard to have a successful change without them. Any process is suspect if it does not use them.
Note: Two follow up posts will cover key analytic and planning change management tools.