Change In China


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Article from Dr. Shi Bisset discussing about how to implement sustainable change in China

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Change In China

  1. 1. PROFESSIONAL OPINIONAll ChangeChange management needs to be adapted to meet China-specific demandsBy Dr. Shi BissetC HANGE MANAGEMENT IN The plan needs to be based on a full Changes to the management composition China is still very much in its understanding of the specific problems could be another way to tailor this example infancy. Even now, there are in that organisation, and its context to a China scenario: for example, a foreign relatively few Organisational in China’s business and culture. The general manager should be succeeded byDevelopment experts and in-company plan should also take into account the a long-serving Chinese general managerchange agents, and they are still working organisation’s resilience and scale, to judge with a proven track record of refine the most effective solutions for what degree of change can be tolerated by With that done, the Chinese generalChina-specific change management. the organisation, and over what period manager can run regular meetings to of time. monitor the project’s process. StrategicLate Starters The second consideration is the way this decisions are separately cascaded through Although planning and managing change approach engages managers and workers department heads at Objectives Goalsare essential for State-Owned Enterprises throughout the organisation. While Steps Measures (OGSM) workshops,(SOEs) and Joint-Ventures (JVs) in China, nothing should be initiated unless it has facilitated by experienced consultants.its role was undervalued for some time. buy-in from the very top, communication This ensures that effective communicationIt was only in the late eighties that, as is vital at every level. remain a priority.MNCs came into China and more JVs If the meetings and OGSMs are conducted With these key features in mind, thewere formed, it became evident that on a regular basis by the company so that approach developed will be tailored tothere was a serious need for performance effective communications become an any given situation. But for the sake of amanagement, mindset and organisational established habit, the company should then clear illustration, it is worth consideringchange on a grand scale. However, while see profitability and productivity continue an example suggested by McLean andthe late eighties consequently saw a rise in to rise, while employees throughout the Sullivan in their as yet unpublishedbasic management skills programmes as a company become increasingly engaged. Essential Competencies of Internal & External“change” initiative, difficulties persist. At this point, the process should become OD Consultants. It is a promising example One key issue is that the specifics are often because this scheme prioritises planning self-sustaining and the consultants cannot cascaded down from the management and communications. take a step back.level in a practical way. A further difficulty In this example, the whole process To begin with in this approach, as in anyis that the majority of Chinese CEOs are has been structured around the two key case, there is a full organisational needsuncomfortable letting go of the more features: the need for extensive planning, analysis. Over the course of perhaps abureaucratic policies, procedures and tailored to the organisation and situation year, the goal could be to document therules; most change initiatives fizzle out in question, and taking into account difficulties associated with the process ofwhen top management realise that it timescale; and attention to the means by change, even if the parties involved areis necessary to engage the workers in which the people within that organisation initially unwilling to communicate. Thethe process of change. In addition, in can be fully engaged in the process of next step might be to construct a dynamicmultinational companies and JVs, Chinese change. and communicable action plan, withpartners may be unwilling to communicate details such as extensive Sales Leadershipwith the foreign board of directors and coaching which can then be cascadedgeneral manager. down to the field sales representatives, About the Author: Dr. Shi BissetAction Plan keeping them up to pace with the changes. is founding Associate of Shi Bisset & This works within China’s particular The challenge for change management Associates, an Organisational Development business environment because the resultconsultants is to find a way to craft a change Consultanc y which is specialised in should be a measurable increase in salesmanagement plan capable of overcoming Change, Behavioural Development and figures, a critical turning point in termsthese kinds of difficulties in China. Such Cross-Global Issues. Dr. Bisset, is one of engaging local managers. The Chinesean approach will need to include two of the foremost OD experts & Business board members are convinced by thisfeatures which are characteristic of an Outcome Executive Coaches emerging out tangible pay-off, and begin to feel thateffective change initiative in China. of the Asia-Pacific region. change is achievable. It typically takes a The first is extensive pre paration. further two years to get to this point.SHANGHAI BUSINESS REVIEW APR 2011 33