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What’s Change Management & How Can Companies in South East Asia Benefit?

The modern world is in constant flux. Everything seems to change on a daily basis and keeping up with every development is as confusing as it is stressful. That’s where change management comes in. As a practical means of helping organizations and the people that make it up effectively manage change, change management is one of the best ways to navigate this dynamic and uncertain world we live in. In this article, I’d like to provide a rundown on change management. By the end, you’ll understand what it is and how it can benefit your company.

What’s Change Management?

In simplest terms, change management helps people and organizations deal with change. Diving a little deeper, it’s possible to define change management as a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization’s goals, processes, and technologies

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What's change management?

Why Should You Care About Change Management?

As stated in the introduction, the modern world is constantly changing. However, change isn’t just a recent occurrence. 

In his book ‘Critical Path’, Buckminster Fuller popularized the idea of the knowledge doubling curve, which states that until the 1900’s, human knowledge has doubled every century. Since then, knowledge has increased exponentially. A study by IBM in 2013 added onto Fuller’s theory and predicted how by 2020, thanks to the internet, knowledge would double every 12 hours!

Of course, that was four years ago. While it’s difficult to quantify the spread of knowledge today, one can only assume it’s increased. You only need to go online or turn on the television to realize how much information is out there. This is why change management is important. 

What Does Change Even Look Like?

Before diving deeper into change management, it’s worth taking a look at what change in the workplace even refers to. When talking about change in this context, it can be categorized in two: change for the individual and change for the organization. While both are integrated in many ways, for now we’ll consider each individually. 

Change For The Individual

Change for the individual is more clearly understood through the work of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. After working with terminally ill patients, she organized grief and loss into 7 stages, which are known today as the Kubler-Ross Change Curve

  1. Shock

First comes shock. You are shocked because this news will change you in some way.

  1. Denial

Then comes denial, in which you refuse to believe the news.

  1. Anger

Once you’re forced to accept the news, you feel anger and frustration about what happened.

  1. Depression

A depression follows, usually because you enter into a new reality of your life after the news.

  1. Experiment

With time and support, it’s possible to start experimenting with the new reality of your life and see what’s possible.

  1. Decision

After experimentation comes a point in which you can make a decision about how you want to move forward in this new reality. 

  1. Acceptance

Lastly, there’s a healthy acceptance of the news. At this point, you’ve embraced the change and are capable of living with it. 

Change For The Organization

Organizational change also relies on an understanding of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve. After all, an organization is made up of individuals. 

As such, organizations also need to understand that when change is announced, people may go through the 7 stages of grief and loss. While you might be wondering whether work-related changes can induce the same reaction as events as traumatic as death, it’s better to never underestimate the effect any change can have

Where change in an organization differs is that it encompasses more people. This calls for looking at change through a wider lens

What Are The Benefits Of Change Management?

The most obvious benefit of change management is the fact that it helps people accept change. Besides that, there are a few benefits to mention. 

Understand How To Facilitate Change

Change management also helps people better understand how to facilitate change. Knowledge of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve is one example. 

More so than that however is the mere fact that having a change management facilitator is one of the first times people actually think about how to facilitate and deal with change

Understand How Change Affects You

While the Kubler-Ross Change Curve can give people a roadmap for going through trying times, change management can also provide insight into how change affects you. 

This means you have a better understanding of how accepting you are of change.  

Be Prepared For Change

Lastly, while people might think you have to go through change in order to know how to deal with it, change management is great because it can prepare you for change. This means you don’t have to wait for change before figuring out what to do–You’ll be ready beforehand!

What Are Some Effective Change Management Strategies? 

Now let’s get into my favorite change management strategy. Known as Kotter’s 8 Steps for Leading Change, it outlines how to best incite change both in individuals and organizations. 

  1. Create A Sense Of Urgency

Step one is where you inspire people to act. Change has to be made with a passion and a purpose, with a clear idea of the goal in mind. 

  1. Build A Guiding Coalition 

After that you need to build a coalition of people to see every step of the change process through. 

  1. Form A Strategic Vision

From there, you can revisit the vision of the change by clarifying how the future will be different. Here you want to put initiatives in place that will make the vision a reality.

  1. Enlist A Volunteer Army

Large-scale change is only successful if the people involved share the same motive. Individuals must want to actively help and the organization as a whole must work toward a focused goal. 

  1. Enable Action By Removing Barriers

In order for change to proceed smoothly, removing internal and external barriers is necessary. 

  1. Generate Short-term Wins

Short-term wins keep motivation high and provide real examples that change is positive rather than negative. 

  1. Sustain Acceleration

After the first few wins, it’s important to keep the foot on the gas pedal and continue to push for more. In short, don’t stop until all change is achieved. 

  1. Institute Change

Finally, you can evaluate how individuals and the organization as a whole have processed change. On top of this you can check how they will ensure systems and processes do not fall back into old habits. 

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Is Change Management Needed In Southeast Asia? 

As mentioned in an earlier section of this article, we should care about change management because the world is constantly changing and information is always increasing. This is especially true for Southeast Asia. According to studies by Springer, if we consider GDP per capita as a measure of economic development, Southeast Asia has been on an upward trend for the past twenty-five years.

As a result of such growth within the ASEAN markets, individuals and organizations in this area have so much to learn and embrace. Change management does just that. However, before ending, it’s also worth noting that given the flexibility of people in these regions, change is oftentimes more welcome than not. In a way, this is an area that’s ripe for change management! 

How Can I Help?

With 20 years experience, including impactful roles at Google and Apple, I, Thijs van Loon, am here to help. My suite of services has been meticulously designed to propel your team to new heights. 

One area of expertise is in Professional Skills Development, which can cover anything from sales training, team management, and train the trainer. 

By leveraging training certifications from Google and Apple, in addition to my certifications in NLP and Psych-K, I offer tailored, practical solutions that deliver immediate results to your business. By working together, I can help you empower the individuals in your company and your business at large, no matter where you are in Southeast Asia. 

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