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What does a Change Manager do?

Change Management

A Change Manager’s day-to-day activities can be a bit of a rollercoaster at times, much like ‘trying to herd cats’ as the saying goes. But instead of cats, we’re dealing with people and their reactions to change.

Being a change manager is not a desk job, and also not all about updating endless plans and stakeholder maps. That of course can be important at times, but change management is really about doing – Change Managers are constantly on the move, working with different teams and people, making sure everyone is on board with the change and that the change is implemented effectively.

Putting people first should be at the heart of Change Management. We all know that change can be scary and overwhelming, and it’s the job of a Change Manager to make sure everyone feels heard and has the option to be involved if they want to, as well as to explain and be honest about some of the difficulties that may lie ahead. A key part is also painting a picture of the benefits for people, which requires lots of listening, lots of engagement, and lots of communication.

Change Managers are the connectors in an organisational network, the bridge between different teams and departments, making sure that everyone is in the loop and working towards the same goal. Active listening is an integral aspect of this, as it allows them to understand the concerns and needs of the people affected by the change. This is where the ‘golden nuggets of change’ are buried, at the informal levels of the organisation.

One of the most important things Change Manager’s do is keep an eye out for what’s emerging. Change is always happening, and Change Managers must be prepared for anything – constantly on the lookout for new trends, new technologies, new stories being told and new ways of working that can help to make the change process smoother. Change Managers are always experimenting and trying new things, because often the best solutions come from unexpected places.

Equally, Change Managers need to be reactive and work with what’s in front of them, they need to be adaptable, flexible, and ready to spin many plates when things don’t go as planned. However, a Change Manager also needs to have a proactive mindset, thinking ahead and making sure they’re prepared for whatever comes next.

Change Management is ultimately about achieving business outcomes but with people in mind. It’s not just about changing for the sake of change. The role of a Change Manager ensures that any change is aligned with the business goals and objectives, that those changes stay front of mind and that the change process runs as smoothly as possible.

By Mick Brian, Head of Change & Transformation at CMC Partnership Consultancy Ltd

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