Change Management for Standardization

Change Management for Standardization

Change can be stressful for a large portion of the population. Why? Many “genuinely believe what they’ve been doing, and how they’ve been doing it, is the best possible way to do it.” [1] To change from that norm is to admit that you might not have been doing it the right way or the best way. The same is true in standardization.

While standardization is a helpful precursor to change, it can also act as a barrier to change. As an example, if a standard becomes specified by a government body and then the committee that supports the standard is disbanded. The standard is essentially unchangeable. People or organizations will need to continue to comply, regardless of the standard’s continued suitability and it will block future improvement or innovation until a solution is found.

Change management processes, such as requiring a standard to be revised, reaffirmed, or withdrawn every so many years, helps to prevent such roadblocks and encourages the continued revision and update of those standards.

To help you develop your own change management process, below are a few principles to consider:


Much of a person’s initial pushback to change is a lack of information. Not understanding 1) why a change must occur, 2) who supports the change, and 3) what value the change will bring, may cause even the most supportive to become defensive. Information, and specifically information that answers those three questions, will relieve concerns and help ease everyone into a ‘pro change’ mindset.


Getting the affected community involved in bringing about the change is a smart strategy. Send our surveys, ask them for advice, tell them what you’re considering but haven’t decided upon. Ensure they feel heard and then ask them to help bring about the change they support.

Take it in steps

Some change can’t be done all at once. You might first need to first convince those affected that an issue is important enough to bring about a change. If you can gain support to make a change, but conflicting opinions on what needs to be changed, then small incremental changes might be the only achievable path forward. With each small revision, garner addition support to take those next steps until you reach your final completed project.


Some things are going to require some tough one-on-one conversations. This is where your active listening skills really come in handy. Capture and explore the issues that are holding people back – is there a question left unanswered, does the argument for change lack evidence – once you fully understand the roadblock you’re facing, you can begin to make progress.


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