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Operational Change Management - The First Steps

Post by Admin , Nov 07, 2018.
Business Consultancy

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If it ‘aint broke’ you may still have to fix it! – The start of the journey.


Change Management impacts on a number of areas of any business. Today’s market is ever changing as new technology arrives, market forces drive change, regulation is updated or simply a business has identified a need to change their system and processes. 

Operational Change Management is most likely to be the area impacted the most, as the way processes and tasks are managed will be the center to how a business functions. The impact on finance, structure, regulation etc. will be affected by the operational processes and as this sits at the core, it is the place to spend the time as get this right and the impact elsewhere should be a positive bi-product. Get the operational processes wrong and the business will suffer financially and otherwise. 

Whether change is forced or driven by internal needs, the management of this is critical to ensure there is successful migration of the staff and operational processes.  

Understanding why there is a need to change may seem obvious but this is the starting point. This is not just a need for the decision makers but for those who will be affected by change. Once the need for change is established and understood it is then possible to start building a change programme and identify the necessary stakeholder to gain their full buy in.

Taking staff on the journey will ensure their buy in, that they understand the issues and will work to deliver a successful implementation. 

If it is a question of changing to meet market or regulatory needs, it is irrelevant if your current operational processes are ‘broken’ or not. The change is needed regardless. What is imperative here is to identify exactly what is causing the change and how this impacts on the current process and if that process(es) is working well, the task is to ensure that this continues with deterioration after the change programme. This may not be as easy as it sounds as fitting new environments into operational processes that already work can be demoralising particularly if matters have become more complex. 

If change is due to the business responding to an internal need or seeking greater efficiency due to new technology or ideas that have been identified by the business, the first step is to identify why the current process is either broken or can be improved, and then to identify the people who are being impacted and what is expected to be achieved from change. 

Regardless of the need, the start of the change process is the same:

  • Understanding the need or rational for change 

  • Speaking to the stakeholders to ensure they understand what is changing and why 
  • Communicating the expected output of the changes

As part of this, the business needs to assess and record the operational performance prior to the change and after. A business must be able to understand that the change has worked. It is not always the case that change is going to make a business more efficient and increase profits. Change may be necessary due to market forces or regulation which makes tasks more onerous and time consuming. This will undoubtedly bring increased cost and that cost needs to be minimised. Only when it is appreciated what the additional cost will be can a business measure how successful it has been at minimising this to avoid impact on financial performance. 

An optimum line of performance needs to be established and that line is your ‘yardstick’ and is your target to beat. Above the line you have been successful! Below the line you have not! The impact of that needs to be assessed so the business can adapt further, whether that is further change to processes and systems or increasing price (for example) as the change has increased operational cost.
A business has to ensure that it captures performance at the starting point of the change process so it can measure against this success of failure. 

At Mr Green Consultancy we understand change and work with businesses to identify, build, implement and monitor successful change management programmes. For more information, you can contact us on 0207 842 1825 or make an online enquiry.