3.1 Hard and soft factors
As a starting point, one aspect of change management that is useful to consider is the distinction between the so-called hard and soft factors of your organisation.
- Hard factors are generally easier to define or identify and are directly influenced by management. Examples of these include strategy statements, organisational structure and reporting relationships, formal processes and IT systems.
- Soft factors can be more difficult to describe; less tangible; and more likely to be influenced by history, tradition or culture. Soft elements can have equal or even greater impact than hard factors on the success of a change effort. Examples of these include leadership and communication styles, organisation values and norms, and individual and team competencies and skill sets.
Implementing a change initiative will involve an element of project management, and it useful to understand the boundaries to ensure that you are focusing on delivering change and not just managing a process. The video below explains the difference.
Transcript: Video 4 Change management vs project management
Change managers, therefore, are an essential role for all change initiatives; they are the champions of the change, and their primary focus should be the outcomes required. The video below, What does a change manager do? (CMI, 2021), provides a useful overview of the role of the change manager.