What is change management and what does a change management professional do?

Change management is the coordination of a structured period of transition within an organisation. The main goal of change management is to create and deliver change management strategies, ensuring that these are actioned smoothly and successfully for all stakeholders. Change strategies are usually strategic in nature and often impact several areas of the business, including changes to business processes, systems and technology, job roles and organisational structures.

Change management professionals are responsible for delivery of change initiatives and must ensure that the projects captured within the change strategy are delivered to scope, on time and within budget. Individuals in this field have an excellent understanding of the wider business objectives behind the change initiatives and must demonstrate outstanding organisational and stakeholder management skills. They will be comfortable with budgeting and performance monitoring and have the flexibility to deal with unexpected changes as projects progress.

Change management professionals usually demonstrate excellent influencing skills and may have responsibility for coaching senior management in fulfilling their roles as change sponsors. They may also provide support and coaching to other levels of management as they help their direct reports through transitions.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Overseeing and leading change management projects including the researching, implementation and assessment from start to finish.
  • Assessing the impact and success of change.
  • Identifying, analysing and preparing risk mitigation tactics.
  • Identifying and managing anticipated resistance.
  • Defining and measuring success metrics and monitoring change progress.
  • Tracking and reporting issues.
  • Supporting the design, development, delivery and management of communications.
  • Collaborating with and coordinating diverse teams.
  • Building and maintaining long term relationships with stakeholders, clients and colleagues.
  • Addressing any client issues, resolving these in a timely and effective manner.
  • Creating and conducting coaching and training sessions.

Why are they important?

Successful change management professionals provide a structured framework for people, the process, and the organisation implementing change. This not only assists with a smooth transition, but it also limits resistance to change objectives by helping employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders to support and understand the change and its effect on the organisation.

Skills needed for this role

Effective change management professionals must have excellent project management, organisational and prioritisation skills. They should also have an analytical mindset and be good problem-solvers. However, it is essential that these professionals have outstanding interpersonal and communication skills to enable them to communicate on all levels and present information accurately.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

As growth and change are inevitable in business, there are always a variety of opportunities for change management professionals. Roles are available in almost any industry and there will be job prospects of a global nature. Professionals may be employed on a permanent basis or on a fixed term contract to implement a specific initiative.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.

  • Leadership and management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, applying appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.

     

  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A - Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B - Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C - Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D - Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E - Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.
     

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.