Anticipating and Managing Change


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My invited talk on 'Anticipating and Managing Change' at Agile India, Feb 17-19 2012 at Bangalore, India

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  • From 8 colors in 1903, now there are over 120 colors!
  • Kurt Lewin developed a conceptual model for understanding the nature of change and resistance he called Force Field Analysis (Figure 1). Lewin postulated that an organization, society, or culture finds itself at any given time held in balance between forces moving the group toward change (driving forces) and forces maintaining the status quo (restraining forces). In this dynamic understanding, change occurs when the valence of driving forces exceeds that of the restraining forces, demanding a simultaneous effort to increase and highlight the driving forces as well as reduce, minimize, and eliminate the restraining forces. Force field analysis accounts for balance of power, helps identify the major stake holders, and helps identify how to engage the issues and people needed for successful transformation (3). Steps in a successful force field analysis include articulating the current situation, describing the desired situation; imagining what will happen if no action is taken; identifying the forces driving change toward the desired outcome; identifying the resistances against the desired outcome; understanding the forces (are they valid? can they be changed? which are critical?); and planning how to increase the driving forces and decrease the restraining forces (3).
  • Within organizational settings, change cannot occur without an “unfreezing” of the status quo. A distortion must be introduced into the organization in order for an unfreezing to occur. The unfreezing process begins as (1) the driving forces for change become more prevalent, (2) when restraining forces are diminished, or (3) as a result of a combination of both of these occurrences (McShane and Von Glinow, 2008, p. 489).For instance, driving forces for change become more pronounced when someone new is inserted into a key point within the structure of the organization. In a church setting, this can occur when a new pastor or elder is called to serve the congregation. This person may, knowingly or not, begin an unfreezing process that moves the organization in a new direction. “Change rarely occurs by increasing driving forces alone, however, because the restraining forces often adjust to counterbalance the driving forces” (p. 492).Restraining forces can be diminished when key leaders or managers within an organization relocate, retire, or pass away. If a person was influential within the organization, these types of events can easily begin to move the group in a new direction. If restraining forces are declining as driving forces for change are increasing, then movement from the status quo to a new condition is probably inevitable. Thus, the process of unfreezing begins.The unfreezing process can create great tension and disharmony within the organization. The disequilibrium that results can generate a considerable amount of stress for those who desire no movement from the existing state of affairs. Those in positions of authority must handle this instability with great care and gracious understanding for those who are uncomfortable with the movement to a new condition. Disgruntled and disenchanted people, even if in the minority, can be a great hindrance to the growth of any organization. Effective resistance to change can take many forms that undermine the goals of the leaders who are trying to move the organization to a better position in order to accomplish their mission.Rather than resenting the reality of resistance, leaders and managers would do well to consider the brute fact that many people oppose change simply because they fear the process of change itself. The following six items are forces that resist organizational change, adapted from McShane and Von Glinow (2008). These forces are manifest to some degree in all organizational settings, even, regrettably, in churches:(1)  Direct costs. People tend to block actions that they perceive will cost them something. This cost is weighed socially, economically, or psychologically.(2)  Saving face. Some resist change as a political strategy in order to enhance their personal reputation within the organization.(3)  Fear of the unknown. People resist change out of worry that they will not be able to properly adjust and acclimate themselves to the new environment.(4)  Breaking routines. People are creatures of habit. They like to stay within their comfort zones by continuing routine role patterns that make life predictable. Changes within their workplace or place of worship are viewed with as much gravitas as changes that take place within their own living rooms. Also, people simply do not wish to invest the time and energy necessary in order to learn new role patterns.(5)  Incongruent organizational systems. Social and psychological rewards accompany certain role patterns within any organization. People do not wish to alter such well-known unspoken social structures.(6)  Incongruent team dynamics. Groups develop and enforce conformity to a set of norms that guide behavior. However, conformity to existing team/group norms may discourage people from accepting organizational change. In the eyes of those who resist change, new norms that conflict with the status quo must be eliminated (p. 490-91). 
  • Anticipating and Managing Change

    1. 1. Anticipating and Managing Change Tathagat Varma 1
    2. 2. Pace of change is only getting …faster!!! 2
    3. 3. Even Crayola crayons are not immune to change! 3
    4. 4. Change is…well…NORMAL!!!No to take shower?Flat to go office?New technology…New customer…New manager…New project…New job…New agile methodology…well… 4
    5. 5. If Change is Normal, then what is the Problem? People resist change! 5
    6. 6. So, why do people resist changes? Old Habits Indictment Comfort of the Past Zone Practices Genuine concerns FearUncertainty Doubt 6
    7. 7. Homeostasis• The tendency of most complex systems to reach a state of equilibrium. The sense of balance that comes from operating in a stable environment is seductive. It masquerades as comfort. But it also leads to inertia – a powerful and limiting force.• Eventhe most talented and well-intended individuals, if they are enveloped by the contentment of the status quo, don’t generally recognize their condition – or the ensuing risks that stagnation presented to their businesses. Management scholars and consultants label the phenomenon “resistance to change”…
    8. 8. …as a result, what do people do?Disagree Procrastinate Pushback Deny Reject Refuse Resist Sabotage 8
    9. 9. But, what do we do instead? or 9
    10. 10. So, how to bring about… 10
    11. 11. Let’s back up a bit… 11
    12. 12. So, what is change? 12
    13. 13. The Myths around Change Change Change is slows things absolute down Chang Change is e is an constraint Chang event Change is e is a an option threat Change is Change disruptive is costly Change Change is is end of risky Change lifeChange is can’t be an predictedaberration
    14. 14. The Reality… Change isChange safeprotects Change is us rebirth Change is Change is the new relative normal Change is Change creative makes us Change is better Change progress creates Change is options a process Change enables us 14
    15. 15. Change in quotes• We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance – Harrison Ford• If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less – General Eric Shinseki• Change brings opportunity – Nido Qubein• It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory – W Edwards Deming• The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists – Japanese Proverb
    16. 16. Is Change good?“I can’t understand why peopleare frightened of new ideas. Iam frightened of the old ones”. - John Cage, American Composer 16
    17. 17. Is Change bad?Over the coming decades, an accelerating pace ofchange will test the resilience of every society,organization and individual. Luckily, perturbationscreate opportunities as well as challenges. But thebalance of promise and peril confronting anyorganization will depend on its capacity for adaption.Hence the most important question for any company isthis: Are we changing as fast as the world around us? Gary Hamel, the Future of Management 17
    18. 18. Why change matters?Im very interested in the futurebecause I plan to spend the restof my life there. — Robert Wood Johnson, Co-founder, J&J 18
    19. 19. Change Models• Satir Change Model• Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle• Transitions• Lewin Force-Field Analysis• Prosci ADKAR Change Model• Situational Leadership• Kotter 8-step Model
    20. 20. Satir Change Model
    21. 21. How to help during each stageStage Description How to help1 Late Status Encourage people to seek improvement information and Quo concepts from outside the group2 Resistance Help people to open up, become more aware, and overcome the reaction to deny, avoid or blame3 Chaos Help build a safe environment that enables people to focus on their feelings, acknowledge their fear, and use their support systems. Help management avoid any attempt to short circuit this stage with magical solutions4 Integration Offer reassurance and help finding new methods for coping with difficulties5 New Status Help people feel safe so that they can practice Quo
    22. 22. Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle Shock Denial Stage Anger Stage Bargaining Depression Testing AcceptanceStage*: Stage Stage Stage* Stage• Initial • Trying to • Frustrated • Seeking in • Final • Seeking • Finally paralysis at avoid the outpouring vain for a realization realistic finding the hearing inevitable. of bottled- way out. of the solutions. way the bad up inevitable. forward news. emotion
    23. 23. Transitions
    24. 24. Lewin Force-field Analysis
    25. 25. “Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze”
    26. 26. ADKAR Model• ADKAR Change Management Model proposed by Jeff Hiatt and Timothy J. Creasey in “The Perfect Change”• It characterizes the process for individual change in 5 key steps: • Awareness of the need to change • Desire to participate and support the change • Knowledge about how to change • Ability to implement new skills and behavior • Reinforcements to keep the change in place
    27. 27. Individual Change Process • The time it takes for each individual to go through similar change could be different • Hence, change management models can’t treat the organization as a homogeneous mass of people going through the change process at the same time Awareness Desire Knowledge Ability ReinforcementA Awareness Desire Knowledge Ability ReinforcementB Time
    28. 28. Organizational Change Process• In a large organization, people might not find out about change at the same time!
    29. 29. Successful Change• Change happens on two dimensions: business and people• Business Dimension: • Business need or opportunity is identified • Project is defined (scope and objectives) • Business solution is designed (new processes, systems and org structure) • New processes and systems are developed • Solution is implemented into the organization• Successful change happens when both happen simultaneously
    30. 30. Situational Leadership Model
    31. 31. Kotter’s Eight Step ProcessEstablishing a Creating the Communicating Developing a sense of Guiding the Vision for Change Vision Urgency Coalition Buy-InIncorporating Empowering Never Letting GeneratingChanges into Broad-based Up Short-term Wins Culture Action
    32. 32. Can we anticipate or predict Change?Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’sabout the future. – Niels Bohr, PhysicistAnticipate the difficult by managing theeasy. – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher 32
    33. 33. Who Moved My Cheese?Noticing Small ChangesEarly Helps You Adapt ToThe Bigger Changes ThatAre Yet To Come. 33
    34. 34. Who Moved My Cheese?Smell The Cheese OftenSo You Know When It IsGetting Old. 34
    35. 35. Our Iceberg Is Melting “…Icebergs are not like ice cubes. The bergs can have cracks inside called canals. The canals can lead to large air bubbles called caves. If the ice melts sufficiently, cracks can be exposed to water, which would then pour into the canals and caves. During a cold winter, the narrow canals filled with water can freeze quickly, trapping water inside the caves. But as the temperature goes lower and lower, the water in the caves will also freeze. Because a freezing liquid dramatically expans in volume, an iceberg could be broken into pieces. After a few minutes, Alice began to see why Fred was so deeply concerned. The magnitude of the problem could be…?” 35
    36. 36. Indicators of impending change• Merger, Acquisition or Divestiture• New Product, Service or Market• New Technology• New Legislation• New Leader 36
    37. 37. So, what to do when I don’t know what lies ahead? 37
    38. 38. so...change is a contant...and unstoppableignore at your perilget up, smell, listen, read, network, talk, observe, askprepare for change…be curiousit can be done! 38
    39. 39. one more thing... 39
    40. 40. References• 5 Reasons people resist change – Julie Rains• Satir Change Model• The Satir Change Model – Steven Smith• The 8-step Process for Leading Change – John Kotter• Transitions: Managing People and Organizational Change – Dai Williams 40
    41. 41. Connect Twitter: @tathagatvarma Blog: Email: tathagat.varma@gmail.comPresentations: 41