An organizational change consultant works with businesses and organizations regarding change. They deal internally with the things that need to be in place in order for the changes to be smooth and the transition a positive one for employees and the company in general. This role is important during the restructuring of a company due to mergers, upgrading of equipment or staff, or even a change to another building or facility. They work closely with contractors, employers, and upper management, as well as the project manager, in order to ensure that the changes are done as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize “down time.” Organization change consultants may be employed full-time within a company, and used as needed on a regular basis, or they may work as independent contractors and are called in from outside the system when their expertise is needed.
An organizational change consultant (sometimes called an “organizational development consultant”), is responsible for helping a company make important changes and approaching them in a practical way to make sure they work properly. For this reason, they should be highly organized, have excellent communications skills, and be able to work with a number of different people at a time. The things that an organizational change or development consultant does can be lumped into 3 basic areas: 1) identification 2) problem-solving and 3) coping. They should be able to identify the problem or challenge, know some good options to solving the problem, and help industry leaders and employees to cope with the changes in a positive fashion. This is a challenging job in many ways, because one of the things people like the least is “change.” So your job is to help them handle the changes in the best way possible with the least amount of “down time” and complaints within the organization.
One of the best education routes to take to prepare for this job would be a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Business Administration, Project Management, or other leadership type consultant area. You could also acquire a certificate in Project Management, or other credentials which would further prove your ability to lead people toward positive change.
An Alternate Route
In lieu of the degree, (though the degree is always recommended), you could focus on getting certification in Project Management and proving yourself in other ways, such as handling multiple projects, getting to be known as an expert change agent or consultant, or getting recommendations from people you have worked with.
Steps to Becoming an Organizational Change Consultant
If you decide to pursue the organizational change consultant career, here are some steps you could take to get there:
1) Get a four-year (Bachelor’s or Master’s) degree in Business, Business Administration, or Project Management. Any of these paths would pave the way for work as an organizational specialist. Consulting skills are important so make sure your coursework also includes some courses in organizational psychology and/or consulting.
2) Obtain a certificate in consulting, organizational leadership, or project management. All of these skills in consulting, organizational leadership, and project management are important to this career. You need to be skilled at consultant relationships and interpersonal skills, as well as organization, and project management.
1 to 5 years
3) Work on PR skills and interpersonal relationship skills. Because change is something no one likes to do, you will be dealing with increased resistance in some organizations due to change. Sometimes the changes come from the upper management, sometimes from the government, and sometimes they are just due to reorganization and improvements of a company. The more you are able to listen and empathize with management’s concerns, as well as the concerns of staff, the better you will be able to negotiate how to handle the structural changes and better advise management on how to continue the process.
4) Remember your role. Remember that you are primarily an advisor and consultant to upper management regarding how to handle change. They rely on you for your expertise in how organizational change should take place. This requires a global “big picture” view of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses and where changes need to be made in order to make the transition smooth.
5) Get recommendations from project managers or others. When you are first starting out, you will want to get positive recommendations from those who have worked with you in the past on projects or problems. This will help others see your potential and what you can do to help a company or organization proceed with any proposed reorganization or changes.
An organizational change consultant is an advisor for big or medium-sized business. They are at the heart of the changes an organization may encounter and help with the smooth transition of these issues. They work with a number of key players in transitioning the organization into the changes that are required in order to advance or restructure. Sometimes those changes will be small, but many times they are much bigger in scope. An effective organizational change consultant is able to see the organization as a whole, work with a variety of people both inside and outside the organization, and want the best for the success of the organization or company. If you think these skills describe you, and you enjoy working with people and helping be an arm of change of major companies or organizations in a big way, consider this career. Start by filling out the online form to get your M.B.A. or Bachelor’s in Business or a related field! Remember, the greatest change you can make in YOUR life is a good education!