change is a full-time job. The quantity and diversity of major
change initiatives taking place is mind-boggling. Change dominates
the agenda. And, as most CEOs and managers have discovered, change
can be very traumatic.
The wave of change cannot be easily
accommodated. Both the pace and the degree of change we are
experiencing today is unprecedented.
In the pursuit of reengineered,
redesigned, and restructured organizations tailored to the demands
of a new competitive environment, organizational trauma may reach
epidemic proportions. While the interventions may be appropriate,
their demands may not be compatible with success or survival --
especially in the absence of adequate supporting structures,
sponsorship, and resources.
Change management is a methodical,
systematic approach to increasing the likelihood of a successful
initiative. Change management can be both difficult and complex.
Organizational change requires new behaviors, beliefs, and
attitudes; each may be critical to the ease, efficacy, and speed of
adopting major changes. Moreover, these requirements extend to every
level of the organization: directors, executives, management, staff,
and even customers -- all of the stakeholders.
Why Manage Change?
"Over half of all changes
in organizations fail."
- Rick Maurer, Author
Beyond the Wall of Resistance
"There's nothing more difficult to take in
hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success,
than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things."
-- The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli,
Change management is essential.
What It Requires
A Systems Perspective
Major organizational change is a
multiple systems challenge; its impact reaches throughout the
organization. Key systems and familiar structures are no
longer intact. New demands and constraints are introduced.
Unfamiliar processes and methods must be learned. Change is
resisted. Organizational systems can exhibit remarkable
resiliency and adaptation if they are effectively managed
through the change process.
Major change requires a commitment of
time, resources, and management beyond the requisite needs
of the change itself. Past performance will attest to
this. Both successful and failed projects -- joint ventures,
mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, new services, capital
campaigns -- offer meaningful information and insights. What
is clear is that major change requires an organizational
infrastructure to support and sustain it. In the absence of
such a commitment, the project will fail.
Change management is a disciplined
approach which brings the necessary skills, knowledge, and
change infrastructure to increase the probability of
successful adaptation. It focuses on the human dimension of
Agenda for Change
Heed the Human Dimension
The fundamental implication of change
management is that change is a process with a human dimension
which can and should be managed. People resist change; they
will undermine and sabotage it. They may welcome change or
ignore it. They may embrace it, and then reject it. Change
challenges long-held behaviors and beliefs; it demands a
departure from the comfortable and familiar.
Keep the Agenda Manageable
Change management recognizes that
there are limits to assimilation. From an organizational
perspective, the quantity and scope of initiatives that can be
realistically accommodated are limited not only by the usual
resource constraints of time, labor and capital, but by their
social and psychological demands as well. Simply stated,
management must stick to a manageable agenda. And, then, it
must create and sustain the organizational infrastructure to
Make Your Case for Change …
- Creatively Executed
- Sponsor Commitment and Support
- Sources and Types of
- Information Needs
- Schedules, Time lines,
- Resource Consumption
- Gossip, Feedback,
- External Events
Elements of Successful Change
- Ready for change
- Strong sponsorship
- Resources and
skills available to execute
- Change is integral
to and focused on organization strategy
- Driven by specific
- Focused on
building customer relationships and revenue
People must learn . . .
- About the change
- Why change is needed
- How to change
- New skills
- New Processes
- New goals and expectations
- New behaviors
"… the initiator has the enmity of all who
would profit by the preservation of the old system, and merely
lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one."
Rules for Change
- Build a coalition and enduring
support for your project.
- Anticipate resistance, get it
out in the open, and manage it.
- Keep your eyes on the
obstacles as well as the goals.
- Build a representative team of
the best people.
- Cover the bases with your
- Share credit, report progress,
and communicate honestly.
- Never assume; verify.
- Be open to learning.
- Honor your stakeholders.