What is a Change Management Consultant?

Change management consultants are strategic thinkers who make sense of complex and contradictory information to effectively resolve business problems. They are expected to be motivated by opportunities and enthusiastic about challenges. Change management consultants should be able to effectively work in different environments while consistently achieving similar results under uncertain circumstances. They should be quick learners who are capable of adjusting their technical approaches and leadership behaviors based on the shifting demands of situations and audiences.

Main Responsibilities

Change management consultants create and implement plans and strategies that maximize the adoption of change initiatives. They minimize resistance through consulting with senior leaders and executives to understand business conditions, cultures and sensitive areas. They apply structured change management methodologies to achieve success and reduce problems. They may consult with departmental leaders to integrate tools and methodologies into business units and divisions.

In the beginning, they may partner with leadership to evaluate value creation, change readiness, potential opposition, benefit realization and return on investment. Change management consultants conduct managerial training at all levels to teach them how to engage, support and direct people through transitions. They create value for clients by clearly defining business problems, solutions and outcomes. They will create a strategic plan with identified risks, metrics, objectives, stakeholders and milestones.

Experience and Qualifications

Change management consultants should have five to six years of professional experience in operations management, organizational dynamics, corporate culture and industrial/organizational psychology. In order to establish a loyal customer base, they must have the proven ability to map business processes, capabilities and departments. They may have experience in driving enterprise transformations through effective change management tools and models. They should have experience in common industries like retail, finance, distribution and manufacturing.

Change management consultants may need a deep understanding of customer engagement, which will help them connect with executives and decision makers, as well as interpersonal skills, which will help them connect and motivate employees and supervisors. Strong organizational and time management skills will help them simultaneously manage multiple projects. Cultural awareness and diversity appreciation will help consultants communicate and succeed.

Job Illustration

Change management consultants are often called to help companies transition and deal with mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and corporate downsizes. They will be accountable to drive the acceptance and adoption of new standards, policies, job duties and work environments. For example, they may work with a company to help older employees transition into retirement, high performing employee transition into new positions and poor performing employees transition into demotions or unemployment.

Change management consultants will leverage their functional expertise of human psychology and social dynamics to respectfully present facts and decisions that will be eventually accepted by unwilling audiences. These change management consultants will demonstrate advanced insights of customer’s business, market and industry in order to make establish authority and motivate change acceptance.

Related Resource: What Careers are in Corporate Strategy?

According to the Harvard Business Review, change management consultants must have a master’s degree and adequate professional experience to be taken seriously. A master’s degree in change management, organizational leadership or corporate development may include classes about power dynamics, business environments, global marketplaces, business administration and transformational management.