Change management is often considered a most difficult proposition in an organizational structure. Though the same is true for one’s self, the group dynamics are always trickier. We may have come across many notions related to change which inspires us to bring about a change in our life, some of the more popular ones are:
“Change is the only constant” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers
So if the Change is so necessary, why aren’t we seeing more changes being implemented in organizations, and why is there so much hassle in change management. The reality is that no one like Change, human being by nature don’t like to be moved. The common understanding is that a known devil is better than an unknown. This is because organizations spend more and more time managing change management.
How does Change occur
More or less all change process has to get through the below stages. It starts with a shock when people are in a denial stage and simply don’t want to discuss it. The second stage is where after a continuous push for the organization’s Change, people enter into a phase of depression. They think that policies and procedures are being enforced rather than desired by the users. However, in the third stage, the people start making adjustments for the new working style and adjusting for the Change. The last and final step is to realize the Change’s benefits and accept it and feel the benefits.
Steps in Change Management
Origin of Change
There can be many sources of Change in an organization. However, the following broad categories are significant sources of Change in the organization:
- Change from the top
- Change from our response
- Change from within
- Change from circumstances
Change from the top
The most common source of Change is senior management. These can include the CEO, other C-level individuals, and the owners of the organizations as well. These changes occur when an individual inspires others as a leader and aspects others to follow. A change from the top is the easiest to implement as it comes from a position of authority; however, to be effective, it needs to follow the following steps to manage Change:
- A compelling narrative – The leader should tell a compelling story for its follower to believe in him.
- Walk the talk – The leader needs to practice or accept the Change first before others. For, e.g., for a new policy of no first-class air travel, the CEO needs to first practice the same and travel by the economy class before he asks his other colleagues to follow the policy
- Adjust policies and procedures – The Change should be embedded in the policies and procedures of the organization
- Develop capacity – If the Change requires additional resources, the Change cannot be appropriately implemented unless the necessary resources are provided
Change from our response
How the individual responds to certain work practice, bring about the Change in an organization. For, e.g., the labor may go on a strike for the unsafe, unhealthy working environment, which makes the organization realize that the work practice was not safe and requires a change. This may be the quickest way to a change. Under this approach, a change is often desired by the users rather than imposed on them.
Change from within
Here the individuals bring about a change from within. They analyze their current work practices, think about whether a change is required or not. If yes, then the first question that always comes to mind that what’s in it for me. How will this Change affect me, and what are its benefits for my work life. If they are satisfied with the Change’s benefits, they start working on it or making alliances to bring about a Change in the organization. For the individual to bring about a Change from within requires:
Change from circumstances
The environment around us is changing, whether it be the series of the industrial revolution or technological changes in Artificial Intelligence. The way we used to do work five to ten years back has changed. Status quos are required to be broken; the key is to Innovate, Transform and Change. These changes are mandatory else the companies see their demise. Examples can be Nokia that one once the market leader in mobile phones but is now struggling to survive.
As Winston Churchill once said that “To improve is to Change and to be perfect is to Change Often.” So the key message here is that organizations should not shy away from Change. Enabling environment should be created that fosters Change in the organization, and appropriate steps should be taken for change management. In most cases, the process of Change is slow. However, the organizations should not get bogged down by the pace, and measures should be taken to manage the Change in a manner that is acceptable to most.
Credits: The article has been inspired from the lectures and presentation of Mr. Salman Munir. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.