What is Change Management
‘If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.’
~ Peter Drucker
Organizational change means permanently altering patterns of organizational behavior. Organizational change is not about personal change, or creating new organizations. Therefore, organizational change is focused on what is happening inside existing organizations, and within their environments. Despite the fact that change management has been in existence for over half a century, one of the major challenges remains to be the capacity of managers to implement change. Most organizations find themselves in a cultural and operational state of arrest which limits their ability to drive profitable growth for all stakeholders.
‘70% of all change management programs fail’
As transformation programs progress from defining strategy and setting targets to design and implementation, these actions affect different levels of the organization. Individuals are inherently rational and will question to what extent change is needed, whether the company is headed in the right direction, and whether they want to commit personally to making change happen.
Therefore, the basic change model defines change as: permanently altering patterns of behavior. Freeing yourself from the behavior arrest opens limitless opportunities for all. There are two contexts of behavior: personal and organizational. The personal context is influenced by education, age and personality. The organizational context is influenced by structure, politics and culture.
In today’s complex business environment, change is always present. Competitive pressures, industry shifts, and technology disruptions are only a few of the elements conspiring toward change. The uncertainty of reorganizations and restructuring can hurt employee morale and productivity, especially when reorganizations and restructurings are needed.
Four primary inputs which have an influence on the pace of change:
- Environment: Factors outside the organization that have a potential impact on the organization.
- Resources: Various assets to which the organization has access, including human resources, capital, information, as well as less tangible resources.
- History: Organizational history and the history of patterns of employee behavior, policy, the types of people the organization.
- Strategy: The process of determining how the organization’s resources are best used within the environment, and within the historical context, in order to attain the desired goals.
Professor John Kotter (Harvard), states that ‘change should be described and communicated in ways that people can relate to’. When this is done properly, ‘it draws on people’s feelings, not just their intellects. It is vital to remember: hearts and minds. Without positive energy at the core, no significant change effort can succeed’, therefore:
- Never assume that other people see what you see, even if a problem or opportunity seems obvious. People’s view of the world is limited by silo walls, and the hierarchy.
- Never forget that ‘burning platforms’ can create more problems than solutions. Before yelling “fire!” consider the risks. No organization needs negative energy.
- When it comes to sustained effort at a high level, positive feelings are infinitely more successful than negative. Fear and anxiety can keep people going for a limited time before leading to burnout.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.”
~ Nelson Mandela
“Given change is ‘constant’ in the workplace, some might suggest that ‘managing’ change is impossible, or even that ‘change management’ is an oxymoron. How can you manage something that is not always tangible, but is rather constantly moving and evolving?
Accepting that change is inevitable and can be positive relates to organisational psychology, organisational development, culture, mindsets and leadership. Change experts can design and execute programs and interventions, to help build this ‘change readiness’ within organisations. Using online tools and a focus on shared purpose and values are examples.
When change is a point in time choice – based on a strategic decision – then the conscious management of specific programs requires concerted action. This includes the engagement of change experts – for discrete programs such as process improvement or new system implementation, or for multifaceted transformational change.
What is certain in an ambiguous operating environment is that the ‘how to’ manage change is changing. Change tools now include more online assessments, personalized and responsive feedback loops and platform-enabled people engagement.
Success change management leaders must deploy Conflict Management strategies to accelerate the change management process.
Change is in the air ….. embrace it !
The author, KetanDeshpande, lives in Minnesota and writes about a variety of topics in his blog such as global economy, market and industry trends, successful strategies for businesses, and others. Leveraging his global strategic leadership experience from the manufacturing industry to offer insights in to how businesses can meet the sustainable growth and profitability goals.
Ketan Deshpande is also passionate about sustainability and renewable energy; he curates and shares latest updates in his blog posts. Recently the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency(SMMPA) of Litchfield, Minnesota, endorsed Ketan Deshpande for an energy conservation project.
This blog also features memorable events, travel experiences and his favorite places to visit in the great state of Minnesota.