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Change Management


1. INTRODUCTION

Change has become a way of life. Mergers, take-overs, redundancies, deregulation, cutting staff, the introduction of new technology and increased competition are daily occurrences. As a manager and leader you are under pressure to maintain performance under chaotic conditions. Your workforce may be confused, resistant and disheartened. Job security, company loyalty and steady career development are no longer available as rewards for performance. What can you do to build a motivated and productive workforce under these conditions? The aim of this document is to provide you with some hints on how to manage and leverage change effectively.

2. TYPES OF CHANGE

An organisation can be changed by altering its structure, its technology, its people or some combination of these aspects.

3. BASIC GUIDELINES DURING CHANGE

These broad guidelines should be taken into account when implementing major changes e.g. a team culture change:

" Have a good reason for making the change
" Involve people in the change
" Put a respected person in charge of the process
" Create transition management teams
" Provide training in new values and work methods
" Bring in outside help
" Establish symbols of change
" Acknowledge and reward people

4. THE ROLE OF THE MANAGER IN THE CHANGE PROCESS

Top management sometimes plans extensively for strategic changes in an organisation, but places very little emphasis on how to handle the transition from the old way to the new. Most of the difficulties manifest themselves in this transition period. This is where people get stuck. They become confused, anxious, angry and often unproductive. Your job as a manager is to move your team through change in the smoothest possible way, regardless of how well or how poorly the change was introduced.

The following steps will help you to introduce and implement change in your group successfully. Depending on the circumstances, you may not go through each stage in the right order, but you should at least be aware of it.

4.1. Preparation

Before the change, whenever possible, follow these steps:

4.1.1. Prepare your employees - let them know what is happening in good time
4.1.2. Describe the change as completely as you can
4.1.3. Research what happened during the last change and learn from experience
4.1.4. Assess the change readiness of your team
4.1.5. Don't make additional changes that are not critical

4.2. Planning

During this stage:

4.2.1. Make contingency plans
4.2.2. Allow for the impact of change on personal performance and productivity
4.2.3. Encourage employee input - Discuss each stage of the way and ask for suggestions
4.2.4. Anticipate the skills and knowledge that will be needed to master the change
4.2.5. Set a timetable and objectives so that you can measure your progress

4.3. Transition Structures

After the planning stage you should:

4.3.1. Create a transitional management group to oversee the change
4.3.2. Develop temporary policies and procedures during the change
4.3.3. Create new channels of communication
4.3.4. Arrange frequent meetings to monitor progress

4.4. Implementation

4.4.1. Provide appropriate training in new skills and develop new attitudes and behavioural patterns
4.4.2. Encourage self-management
4.4.3. Provide more feedback than usual to ensure that people always know where they stand
4.4.4. Allow for resistance
4.4.5. Give people a chance to step back and look at what is going on
4.4.6. Encourage people to think and act creatively
4.4.7. Look for any opportunity created by the change
4.4.8. Allow for the withdrawal and return of people who offer temporary resistance
4.4.9. Collaborate: Build bridges between work teams and co-ordinate their activities
4.4.10. Monitor the change process

4.5. Reward

4.5.1. Create incentives for special effort
4.5.2. Celebrate: Organise special events to acknowledge those who have helped to make things happen

5. HOW PEOPLE CHANGE

5.1. People change by being led, not by being told
5.2. Because most change is resisted, it is important to create incentives for those who adapt to change professionally and thoroughly


6. THE TRANSITION STAGES

People generally go through four stages when facing change

6.1. Denial
6.2. Resistance
6.3. Exploration
6.4. Commitment

Each of these stages requires specific strategies to be employed by management.

7. COMMUNICATING ABOUT CHANGE

Because communication is the key to change management, it is important to communicate fully and clearly. The following is a four-part formula that will help you to do so:

7.1. Situation: What has happened? What is the change that needs to be responded to?
7.2. Feelings: What are your feelings about the change? Are you confused, hopeful, or upset
7.3. Effect: What effect will the change have on you? The workforce? The project?
7.4. Desired outcome: What outcome would you like to see? What do you want the other person to do?

 

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