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Change Management

Q.1 How to manage change?

Change management methodologies are all about process and people - ultimately it's all
about people and processes that work for people. Organizations are advised how to
prepare people for a momentous event and get them through it with minimal damage and
cost. The event-management approach to change may be outdated in an era where change
is virtually constant. What we need instead is to cultivate cultures where all employees
are constantly seeking to improve. They need to take to heart the mantra "Nothing
succeeds like success," which means that today's great practices and products are certain
to fail tomorrow so we must keep the change ball rolling continuously.

Another problem with many approaches to change management is that they are too top-
down. The whole focus is on how to break down the resistance to change of stubborn
employees. We miss the point that it is the people who develop the idea to change who
are the most enthusiastic about it. Senior executives aren't more adaptable than lower
level employees. The real problem is that ownership is at the top.

Resistance to Change

People resist change for good reason. Everyone is under great pressure to meet targets
and, to be efficient, we need routines. A great deal of our work may require us to solve
problems with some creative thinking, but the bulk of it can be done on automatic pilot
once we know what we are doing. This takes a lot less effort than having to think through
from scratch how to do something. Change is frustrating because it disrupts people's
routines. This is very threatening because it raises the possibility that we might not meet
our targets if we have to learn something new. It is a worrying thought that we might not
be competent in the new methods.

Change is also annoying because someone else is trying to tell us how to do our job
better. This is insulting and people resist it for emotional reasons no matter how good the
idea might be.

Effective Change Management

A key principle advocated by change agents is communication, to keep people informed


fully at each step of a major change project. Involving people in change usually means
little more than getting them together to deliver the latest messages. What is really
needed is a much deeper level of engagement. The best change managers use excellent
change facilitation skills to draw solutions out of people, not just for a specific change
initiative, but on an ongoing basis in an effort to foster a change oriented culture. Skilled
facilitation means asking questions which are all variations on "What do you think?"
Such questions would include: "What would you see as the benefits of doing X?" Or,
"How would you implement this in your area?" Or, "If you went back to the drawing-
board, which of your routines could you radically overhaul and how?" Another good
question is "How is this a leadership opportunity for you?" By drawing solutions for
improvement out of the people who have to live with them, the odds of resistance are
greatly reduced. Ownership is thereby fostered at the front lines rather than sold from the
top-down.

Resistance can be tackled by asking people to cite benefits of the change. They are quick
to list objections. Ineffective change managers argue with resistant employees. They try
harder to sell the need for change, which only increases resistance. A better strategy is to
ask employees to set aside their objections for a moment and make as long a list as they
can of the benefits they can see for the change. People are more likely to buy a change if
they can put the benefits in their own words. The skilled change manager addresses each
objection in turn, by asking questions like: "How could you address this issue?" "What
could you do to get around this obstacle?" The key here is to continually push ownership
back onto the employee.

Cultivating a Change Mind-Set

To foster a change oriented culture, all employees should be given improvement targets
to encourage networking and keeping abreast of the latest practices in their fields. They
should identify comparable fields to learn about new practices emerging in related
disciplines. All employees should have dual responsibilities: one to deliver today's results
and two to help the organization create the future. Employees at all levels should be
encouraged to see themselves as change leaders.

In considering any step change initiative - in any organisation, in any sector and any
location, we need to be asking and seeking answers to these simple questions:

- How am I going to manage all this so that it happens and I succeed?

- How's it going to be different when I've made the change?

- Why am I doing this - how's it going to benefit me?

- How will I know it's benefited me?

- Who's it going to affect and how will they react?

- What can I do to get them "on side"?

- What steps do I have to take to make the changes and get the benefit?

- What are the risks and issues that I'll have to face?
Be ready

1 Change is a constant part of life, so prepare for it. Michael Jarrett, the author of
Changeability: Why Some Companies Are Ready For Change and Others Aren't, argues
that people who are prepared to embrace change have “changeability”, a key predictor of
success. Build changeability into your company by cultivating strong leadership, talents
and processes that match the requirements of the marketplace.

Have a purpose

2 “Ask as many people as you can why change is planned and if they hesitate or say
‘because everyone else is doing it', alarm bells should ring,” Richard Crouch, the head of
HR and organisational development at Somerset County Council and a board member of
The Public Sector People Managers' Association, said. He recommends that managers
“acid test” reasons for change: good ones could be better service delivery or
modernisation.

Act holistically

3 Managing change is akin to performing several different medical procedures at the


same time, Jeanie Daniel Duck, a senior partner and managing director at The Boston
Consulting Group, writes in the essay Managing Change: The Art of Balancing. “Each
operation is a success, but the patient dies of shock.”

“You cannot do something in one part of the organisation without changing all parts of
the organisation,” Nick James, an organisational development specialist, said. Even
things that seem small, such as changing the way in which employees log their time, can
affect the whole company.

Think long-term

4 “The whole process of integration could take several years, or some aspects of it may
never happen,” Margaret Denton, a change management specialist who worked with
ExxonMobil after their merger in 1999, said. “When people introduced themselves to
others in the organisation, they always identified where they were from, Exxon or Mobil.
They never said ExxonMobil.”

Look within

5 “In today's economic climate, you can't simply throw money at the problem or hire lots
of people to effect change for you. It's like Manchester City Football Club: They want to
buy loads of footballers, but they're hoping they're just going to turn up,” Steve Bicknell,
the co-founder of Crelos, a business psychology consultancy, said, “[but] you've usually
got a lot of people in-house that know the answers.”

Listen
6 “Don't just push information at people, encourage them. Involve them, ask what they're
concerned about - and follow up,” Ms Denton said.

“The quality of communication is probably the most significant factor in whether or not
change will succeed,” Miles Teasdale, the director of YSC, a business psychology
consultancy, said.

Cultivate urgency

7 There is too much complacency in the workplace, according to the change management
expert and author of A Sense of Urgency, John P. Kotter. He urges managers to fight this
with action. “Demonstrate urgency. I know a manager who is brilliant at this. He will end
a meeting by saying ‘This is what I'm going to do in the next seven days as a result of this
meeting', then asks what other people are going to do.”

Expect emotion

8 Change can be a “fraught process”, Mr James said. He pointed out that many models
used to predict how people will react to change are the same as those used to help people
who are grieving. For many people, change will feel like a loss and they may react
angrily before they can accept new processes and situations.

One size does not fit all

9 There are different types of change, Dr Jarrett said. One style he dubs “turnaround” and
is seen when a new leader arrives and implements large organisational changes, such as
the recent appointment of Edward Liddy, chief executive of AIG. Another model is to
make lots and lots of smaller, incremental changes.

Help staff take control

10 Anthony Greenfield, author of The 5 Forces of Change, points to the television series
Jamie's School Dinners as an example of buy-in. On the programme, children who
refused to try healthy food were given cooking lessons. “They really got their hands on
the issue. It's the same for everyone in any organisation - if you involve people, they will
buy into it more,” Mr Greenfield said.

The five stages of grief

Although originally written by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to describe bereavement, this cycle


is used to describe emotional reactions to all types of change or trauma

1 Denial: refusal of the facts or reality of the situation

2 Anger: this can be with themselves or others close to them


3 Bargaining: people seek to negotiate a compromise

4 Depression: sadness, fear and uncertainty as change is accepted

5 Acceptance: emotional detachment and objectivity

Q.2 “The Employee plays an important role in change management”: Elaborate


the statement

A wise person once told “ I could never expect one hundred percent support from any
individual who was not personally involved in devising a change which had an impact on
his work.” The wise person was right.

In any change, especially ones that affect a complete organization, it is impossible to


involve every employee in each decision. Respondents to change management questions
over the years suggested, however, that when change works, the organization has gone
out of its way to try employee involvement.

Employee Involvement for Effective Change Management

* Create a plan for involving as many people as possible, as early as possible, in the
change process.

* Involve all stakeholders, process owners, and employees who will feel the impact of
the changes, as much as possible, in the learning, planning, decisions, and
implementation of the change. Often, in change management, a small group of employees
learns important information about change and change management. If they fail to share
the information with the rest of the employees, the remaining employees will have
trouble catching up with the learning curve.

If a small group makes the change management plans, employees affected by the
decisions will not have had needed time to analyze, think about, and adjust to the new
ideas. If you leave employees behind, at any stage of the process, you open the door in
your change management process, for misunderstanding, resistance, and hurt.

* Even if employees cannot affect the overall decision about change, involve each
employee in meaningful decisions about their work unit and their work.

* Build measurement systems into the change process that tell people when they are
succeeding or failing. Provide consequences in either case. Employees who are positively
working with the change need rewards and recognition. After allowing some time for
employees to pass through the predictable stages of change, negative consequences for
failure to adopt the changes, are needed.

You cannot allow the nay-sayers to continue on their negative path forever; they sap
your organization of time, energy, and focus, and eventually, affect the morale of the
positive many. The key is to know, during your change management process, when to
say, enough is enough.

Help employees feel as if they are involved in a change management process that is
larger than themselves by taking these actions to effectively involve employees in change
management.

Q.3 How to implement change in an organization?

There are many theories about how to "do" change. Many originate with leadership and
change management guru, John Kotter. A professor at Harvard Business School and
world-renowned change expert, Kotter introduced his eight-step change process in his
1995 book, "Leading Change." We look at his eight steps for leading change below.

Step One: Create Urgency

For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of
urgency around the need for change. This may help you spark the initial motivation to get
things moving.

This isn't simply a matter of showing people poor sales statistics or talking about
increased competition. Open an honest and convincing dialogue about what's happening
in the marketplace and with your competition. If many people start talking about the
change you propose, the urgency can build and feed on itself.

What you can do:

• Identify potential threats, and develop scenarios showing what could happen in
the future.
• Examine opportunities that should be, or could be, exploited.
• Start honest discussions, and give dynamic and convincing reasons to get people
talking and thinking.
• Request support from customers, outside stakeholders and industry people to
strengthen your argument.

Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition

Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible
support from key people within your organization. Managing change isn't enough - you
have to lead it.
You can find effective change leaders throughout your organization - they don't
necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy. To lead change, you need to bring
together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of
sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance.

Once formed, your "change coalition" needs to work as a team, continuing to build
urgency and momentum around the need for change.

What you can do:

• Identify the true leaders in your organization.


• Ask for an emotional commitment from these key people.
• Work on team building within your change coalition.
• Check your team for weak areas, and ensure that you have a good mix of people
from different departments and different levels within your company.

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and
solutions floating around. Link these concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp
easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you're asking them to do something.
When people see for themselves what you're trying to achieve, then the directives they're
given tend to make more sense.

What you can do:

• Determine the values that are central to the change.


• Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you "see" as
the future of your organization.
• Create a strategy to execute that vision.
• Ensure that your change coalition can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
• Practice your "vision speech" often.

Step Four: Communicate the Vision

What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success. Your
message will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications
within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully, and
embed it within everything that you do.

Don't just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every
chance you get. Use the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you
keep it fresh on everyone's minds, they'll remember it and respond to it.
It's also important to "walk the talk." What you do is far more important - and believable
- than what you say. Demonstrate the kind of behavior that you want from others.

What you can do:

• Talk often about your change vision.


• Openly and honestly address peoples' concerns and anxieties.
• Apply your vision to all aspects of operations - from training to performance
reviews. Tie everything back to the vision.
• Lead by example.

Step Five: Remove Obstacles

If you follow these steps and reach this point in the change process, you've been talking
about your vision and building buy-in from all levels of the organization. Hopefully, your
staff wants to get busy and achieve the benefits that you've been promoting.

But is anyone resisting the change? And are there processes or structures that are getting
in its way?

Put in place the structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Removing
obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the
change move forward.

What you can do:

• Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
• Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and
compensation systems to ensure they're in line with your vision.
• Recognize and reward people for making change happen.
• Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see what's needed.
• Take action to quickly remove barriers (human or otherwise).

Step Six: Create Short-term Wins

Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the
change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on
the type of change), you'll want to have results that your staff can see. Without this,
critics and negative thinkers might hurt your progress.

Create short-term targets - not just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to
be achievable, with little room for failure. Your change team may have to work very hard
to come up with these targets, but each "win" that you produce can further motivate the
entire staff.

What you can do:


• Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any strong
critics of the change.
• Don't choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the
investment in each project.
• Thoroughly analyze the potential pros and cons of your targets. If you don't
succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
• Reward the people who help you meet the targets.

Step Seven: Build on the Change

Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real
change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve
long-term change.

Launching one new product using a new system is great. But if you can launch 10
products, that means the new system is working. To reach that 10th success, you need to
keep looking for improvements.

Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you
can improve.

What you can do:

• After every win, analyze what went right and what needs improving.
• Set goals to continue building on the momentum you've achieved.
• Learn about kaizen, the idea of continuous improvement.
• Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change
coalition.

Step Eight: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

Finally, to make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organization.
Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision
must show in day-to-day work.

Make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your
organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organization's culture.

It's also important that your company's leaders continue to support the change. This
includes existing staff and new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of
these people, you might end up back where you started.

What you can do:

• Talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change
process, and repeat other stories that you hear.
• Include the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff.
• Publicly recognize key members of your original change coalition, and make sure
the rest of the staff - new and old - remembers their contributions.
• Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help
ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten.

Key Points
You have to work hard to change an organization successfully. When you plan carefully
and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you'll
improve the chances of success. If you're too impatient, and if you expect too many
results too soon, your plans for change are more likely to fail.

Create a sense of urgency, recruit powerful change leaders, build a vision and effectively
communicate it, remove obstacles, create quick wins, and build on your momentum. If
you do these things, you can help make the change part of your organizational culture.
That's when you can declare a true victory. then sit back and enjoy the change that you
envisioned so long ago.