Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Art of Change Management

"An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage."                Jack Welch

One of the most telling stories of an organization is how it has survived and excelled in a changing global business environment.  While Apple is currently the flying high in the markets, it claims success from the swift change to market trends that leaves competitors at a point of imitation.  

A few items to keep in mind when an organization changes:
  • Responsibility for managing change is the management and executive leadership of the organization.  The employee responsibility is to do their level best.
  • Change must involve the people and not be imposed upon the people.  Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties.  Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.
The following are change management principles:
  1. At all times involve and agree support from people within system (system = environment, processes, culture, relationships, behaviours, etc., whether personal or organisational).
  2. Understand where you/the organisation is at the moment.
  3. Understand where you want to be, when, why, and what the measures will be for having got there.
  4. Plan development towards above No.3 in appropriate achievable measurable stages.
  5. Communicate, involve, enable and facilitate involvement from people, as early and openly and as fully as is possible. 
American John P Kotter (b 1947) is a Harvard Business School professor and leading thinker and author on organizational change management. Kotter's highly regarded books 'Leading Change' (1995) and the follow-up 'The Heart Of Change' (2002) describe a helpful model for understanding and managing change. Each stage acknowledges a key principle identified by Kotter relating to people's response and approach to change, in which people see, feel and then change.

Kotter's eight step change model can be summarised as:
  1. Increase urgency - inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
  2. Build the guiding team - get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
  3. Get the vision right - get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy, focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
  4. Communicate for buy-in - Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people's needs. De-clutter communications - make technology work for you rather than against.
  5. Empower action - Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders - reward and recognise progress and achievements.
  6. Create short-term wins - Set aims that are easy to achieve - in bite-size chunks. Manageable numbers of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones.
  7. Don't let up - Foster and encourage determination and persistence - ongoing change - encourage ongoing progress reporting - highlight achieved and future milestones.
  8. Make change stick - Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave change into culture.  

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