Change ManagementLeading in Times of TransitionThe New Reality: Extraordinary Times Are OrdinaryForget the notion of keeping up with change — organizations are awash in it. Employeesexperience waves of change, one after another. In these times when unrelenting change isbecoming the norm, leaders have no choice but to adapt and help others to adapt.Organizational events such as restructuring, mergers and acquisitions or financial problems forceleaders to rethink their work and adapt to a changing workforce. Pressure to achieve results andto satisfy often-competing demands builds the intensity. External factors - the economy, industryand market trends, globalization, political and social concerns and rapid technological changesall conspire to make leadership a complex, difficult undertaking."Leadership today often feels extreme and extraordinary," says CCLs Michael Wakefield."Paradoxically, the dynamic of extraordinary times in organizations is becoming ordinary andcommonplace for most leaders."Rapid change and constant transition have created a more emotional dynamic in organizations."Uncertainty can trigger all kinds behavioral and emotional reactions from leaders and the peoplewho are affected by the decisions of leadership," explains Wakefield. "Confronted by change,people go through a time of transition that is rarely easy. They adapt at different paces and invarious ways, depending upon the circumstances and the individual."People have come to accept change as a part of organizational life and are more comfortable inadapting to it. But the challenge of leadership remains a difficult problem.Leading Change Versus Leading TransitionThe complexity and intensity of transition is a reaction to change - and the more frequent ormore dramatic the change, the more complex the process of transition. Yet, organizations andleaders commonly overlook or dismiss the human side of change."Many managers have mastered the structural side of leading change - creating a vision,reorganizing, restructuring and so on," Wakefield says. "They are rewarded, evaluated andeducated to deal with the structural issues and so have more experience with them."The stresses and pressures generated by structural or operational change lead to an increasedneed to pay attention to whats going on with the people in the organization. Leading transition isabout guiding people though a process of grieving, letting go, building hope and learning. "Inmany ways, the bigger challenge for leaders is to manage the longer-term, human aspects ofchange: recovery, revitalization and recommitment," says Wakefield.
Whats at Stake? Research shows that 75 percent of change initiatives fail. So whats missing?Managing change requires leaders to deal effectively with both the structural side of leadingchange and the human dynamic of transition. When the skills associated with either side areoverplayed, leaders destabilize the organizational culture by eroding trust. Instead of a loyal,productive and enthusiastic workforce, executives and managers must lead employees who areinsecure, fearful and skeptical. By failing to gain sufficient buy-in from employees, leaders slowdown and undermine their progress toward new goals."When leaders ignore or minimize the people side of managing change, perfectly good strategiesand change initiatives stall or fail," saysWakefield.Managing change requires leaders to focussimultaneously on managing the business andproviding effective leadership to the people.Change Management –Managing change is the most important aspect of any effort to improve organizational performance. We view changemanagement as a deliberate process that starts with an understanding of the need for dealing with change, as well as themotivation for causing positive change. Once we help you accomplish this step, we can then move on to helping youdevelop internal and external support for your vision, manage the transition, and sustain the momentum.
7 Essential Skills for Managing ChangeBy Mark Harrison 28By Mark HarrisonIt’s a cliché, but change has always been the only constant. In recent times,the pace of change has accelerated greatly, and we all need to find ways todeal creatively with this fact of modern life. Leaders, in particular, need to face
and manage change in a constructive way, but everyone who wants to besuccessful – in career, in relationships, in life – must learn how to see andmanage change the way that successful ‘change leaders’ do. Such leadersare adaptable and creative, responding to change in three key ways.1. People who respond well to change will have a high ‘ambiguitythreshold.’ Change is inherently ambiguous, and those who deal creativelywith change will have a high tolerance for uncertainty and ‘shades of grey.’2. Skillful managers of change will have a constructive ‘internalmonologue.’ They will see themselves as inherently powerful and having theability to control elements of the situation in which they find themselves. Somecircumstances cannot be changed, but the way we respond to them is alwaysa choice, and we always have a sphere of influence, however small. Byfocusing on this sphere of influence, and not expending energy bemoaningthe area outside it, the circle will start to expand and give us progressivelymore control. Solutions to problems always exist, and the ‘internal monologue’should reflect the desire to find them and the certainty that they can besuccessfully implemented.3. Those who deal well with change will have a good reservoir ofemotional, physical and mental energy from which to draw when thingsget tough.Managing ChangeThe above ways of dealing with change tend to be innate, with some peoplehaving a greater capacity for one or more of them than others. However, theycan be learned, and the following are seven tips for improving your skills inmanaging change.1. Spend time reflecting on your own core values and your mission inlife. A sense of purpose is essential to success and effectiveness, and those
without a clear idea of what they are doing and why they are doing it will nothave the foundation to keep going in the face of change.2. Be persistent. Success is usually more to do with tenacity that genius.Persistence is only possible when you have clarified your values and whenyou are able to build on the bedrock of purpose. Successful people keepgoing in the face of change, finding new and creative ways to achieve apositive outcome.3. Be flexible and creative. Persistence does not mean pushing through byforce. If you are unable to achieve success one way, try another, and thenanother. Keep looking for more creative solutions and innovative responses toproblems.4. Think outside the box. Read widely, and don’t confine yourself to yourown area of ‘expertise.’ Try to see links between apparently separate anddiverse elements in your life and experience.5. Accept uncertainty and be optimistic. Life is inherently uncertain, sodon’t waste your energy trying to predict the future. Of all the possibleoutcomes, focus on the most positive one. This is not to be a ‘Pollyanna,’ butto accept that if you respond well and work to the best of your ability, a goodoutcome is as likely as any other. Don’t waste your energy being negative.6. Keep fit and healthy. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly.Meditation can help, too. This will keep up your energy levels and allow you tokeep going in tough times. Not taking care of yourself physically, mentally andspiritually is foolish and short sighted.7. See the big picture. Change is inevitable, but if you take a bird’s-eye-viewof the landscape, the change won’t be so disorientating and you will keepperspective at all times.Managing change means managing peoples fear. Change is natural and good, but peoples reaction tochange is unpredictable and irrational. It can be managed if done right.
ChangeNothing is as upsetting to your people as change. Nothing has greater potential to cause failures, lossof production, or falling quality. Yet nothing is as important to the survival of your organization aschange. History is full of examples of organizations that failed to change and that are now extinct. Thesecret to successfully managing change, from the perspective of the employees, is definition andunderstanding.Resistance to change comes from a fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss. The front-end of anindividuals resistance to change is how they perceive the change. The back-end is how well they areequipped to deal with the change they expect.An individuals degree of resistance to change is determined by whether they perceive the change asgood or bad, and how severe they expect the impact of the change to be on them. Their ultimateacceptance of the change is a function of how much resistance the person has and the quality of theircoping skills and their support system.Your job as a leader is to address their resistance from both ends to help the individual reduce it to aminimal, manageable level. Your job is not to bulldoze their resistance so you can move ahead.Perception Does MatterIf you move an employees desk six inches, they may not notice or care. Yet if the reason you movedit those six inches was to fit in another worker in an adjacent desk, there may be high resistance tothe change. It depends on whether the original employee feels the hiring of an additional employee isa threat to his job, or perceives the hiring as bringing in some needed assistance.A promotion is usually considered a good change. However an employee who doubts their ability to handle the new job maystrongly resist the promotion. They will give you all kinds of reasons for not wanting the promotion, just not the real one.You might expect a higher-level employee to be less concerned about being laid off, because they have savings andinvestments to support them during a job search. However, the individual may feel they are over extended and that a jobsearch will be long and complicated. Conversely, your concern for a low-income employee being laid off may be unfoundedif they have stashed a nest egg in anticipation of the cut.Your best salesperson may balk at taking on new, high potential account because they have an irrational feeling that theydont dress well enough.If you try and bulldoze this resistance, you will fail. The employee whose desk you had to move willdevelop production problems. The top worker who keeps declining the promotion may quit rather thanhave to continue making up excuses for turning you down. And the top salespersons sales may dropto the point that you stop considering them for the new account. Instead, you overcome theresistance by defining the change and by getting mutual understanding.DefinitionOn the front end, you need to define the change for the employee in as much detail and as early asyou can. Provide updates as things develop and become more clear. In the case of the desk that has
to be moved, tell the employee whats going on. "We need to bring in more workers. Our sales haveincreased by 40% and we cant meet that demand, even with lots of overtime. To make room forthem, well have to rearrange things a little." You could even ask the employees how they think thespace should be rearranged. You dont have to accept their suggestions, but its a start towardunderstanding.Definition is a two-way street. In addition to defining the problem, you need to get the employees todefine the reasons behind their resistance.UnderstandingUnderstanding is also a two-way street. You want people to understand what is changing and why.You also need to understand their reluctance.You have to help your people understand. They want to know what the change will be and when it will happen, but they alsowant to know why. Why is it happening now? Why cant things stay like they have always been? Why is it happening to me?It is also important that they understand what is not changing. Not only does this give them one less thing to stress about, italso gives them an anchor, something to hold on to as they face the winds of uncertainty and change.You need to understand their specific fears. What are they concerned about? How strongly do they feel about it? Do theyperceive it as a good or a bad thing?Manage This IssueDont try to rationalize things. Dont waste time wishing people were more predictable. Instead, focuson opening and maintaining clear channels of communication with your employees so they understandwhat is coming and what it means to them. They will appreciate you for it and will be more productiveboth before and after the change.-------