Change management is the process of developing a planned approach to change in an organization. Typically the objective is to maximize the collective benefits for all people involved in the change and minimize the risk of failure of implementing the change. The discipline of change management deals primarily with the human aspect of change, and is therefore related to pure and industrial psychology.
Some of the Potential issues concerning the successful Change deployment process:
1. The House (Of Quality) Needs Foundations
Underestimating the need for a support structure can be a big mistake in the process of deploying Lean or Six Sigma. It is important to first assess the gap between your current state and the future, desired state. This activity produces a list of things that need to change and, in addition, those that need to be positively reinforced. In the change process, this is not an either/or proposition. Both need to be done. As an example, if one has the fortune of having an army of talented Black Belts but a broken Champion support system, the program can fail in a heartbeat. Again, if both are present and yet, executive support is absent, then that can lead to disastrous results for a program as well.
The role of a consultant is potentially huge in this case. The superior knowledge base can be helpful in foreseeing roadblocks and addressing them at the very outset.
2. Speed Can Be An Illusion
One common trait of all change initiatives is that they go through a series of necessary steps that have their own lead times. Failing to recognize this fact often leads to skipping essential activities that only create an illusion of speed and never produces desired results.
Sticking to an overall game plan and building steady momentum over time brings change that is more coherent and permanent than islands of excellence resulting from scattered activities.
3. Sustaining A Shared Vision
Most executives do a good job of communicating a strong sense of urgency to effect change and move people out of their comfort zones. This often launches a flurry of activities in the right direction to start with. However, sustaining the quality and level of activities is a different ball game. For the abstraction that is called business, it requires more than organizational structure, incentives and job descriptions to have a multitude of people work in a concerted manner towards a common objective — it requires a shared vision. It is one, in which everybody has a role to play, everybody clearly understands his or her role, and everyone knows “what is in it for me?”
Having a shared vision and communicating it well are essential in galvanizing a workforce to come together and stay together, during the process of change..
4. New Vision, Old Contraints
Doing the same old thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. As much as new tools and a new roadmap empowers people to do things differently, systemic constraints — be it organizational structure or reward system — if not addressed adequately can seriously damage the credibility of the effort and make cynics out of employees.
Actions to confront big roadblocks early in the deployment phase can do the magic of boosting morale and providing momentum to overcome psychological hurdles throughout the organization.
5. Show Me The Money
In all fairness to the shareholders, every initiative should aim at producing measurable economic benefit to a business. Care should be taken to ensure that there is correlation between the metrics used to monitor improvement efforts and the bottom line. This may warrant adjustments to the accounting procedures2 to enable the identification of reform opportunities, drive the right activities and calculate project benefits consistently. In many cases, gains are realized only after a series of project segments (like a step function).
It is important in such cases to make sure that cost accounting doesn’t disincentivise the very activities that culminate into a breakthrough.
6. Success Breeds Success
Every large initiative can appear potentially daunting and overwhelming if not split into manageable chunks. A process always runs the risk of losing steam if there are no short-term goals and short-term wins defined. Short-term wins create enthusiasm and confidence amongst people and aid in team building.
This makes the ultimate goal look realizable to participants and helps garner support even from those who have been erstwhile resisting change and sitting on the sidelines.
7. Leaders Wanted
More often than not, management is incentivised to minimize risk and preserve the status quo. Change on the other hand requires creation of a new state of business, which naturally requires leadership. A paralyzed decision making process (often the biggest impediment to change) is a symptom of having too many managers and not enough leaders3.
Great leaders transform cultures and stimulate breakthroughs. It is vital to have a good number of them on one’s side as champions of the renewal process.
can see little different Tools and Methodology : but same in delivery
Here are some rules for effective management of change. Managing organizational change will be more successful if you apply these simple principles. Achieving personal change will be more successful too if you use the same approach where relevant. Change management entails thoughtful planning and sensitive implementation, and above all, consultation with, and involvement of, the people affected by the changes. If you force change on people normally problems arise. Change must be realistic, achievable and measurable. These aspects are especially relevant to managing personal change. Before starting organizational change, ask yourself: What do we want to achieve with this change, why, and how will we know that the change has been achieved? Who is affected by this change, and how will they react to it? How much of this change can we achieve ourselves, and what parts of the change do we need help with? These aspects also relate strongly to the management of personal as well as organizational change.
Responsibility for managing change
The employee does not have a responsibility to manage change – the employee’s responsibility is no other than to do their best, which is different for every person and depends on a wide variety of factors (health, maturity, stability, experience, personality, motivation, etc). Responsibility for managing change is with management and executives of the organisation – they must manage the change in a way that employees can cope with it. The manager has a responsibility to facilitate and enable change, and all that is implied within that statement, especially to understand the situation from an objective standpoint (to ’step back’, and be non-judgemental), and then to help people understand reasons, aims, and ways of responding positively according to employees’ own situations and capabilities. Increasingly the manager’s role is to interpret, communicate and enable – not to instruct and impose, which nobody really responds to well.
Change must involve the people –
change must not be imposed upon the people
Be wary of expressions like ‘mindset change’, and ‘changing people’s mindsets’ or ‘changing attitudes’, because this language often indicates a tendency towards imposed or enforced change, and it implies strongly that the organization believes that its people currently have the ‘wrong’ mindset, which is never, ever, the case. If people are not approaching their tasks or the organization effectively, then the organization has the wrong mindset, not the people. Change such as new structures, policies, targets, acquisitions, disposals, re-locations, etc., all create new systems and environments, which need to be explained to people as early as possible, so that people’s involvement in validating and refining the changes themselves can be obtained.
Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties. Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.
Internal Communication and Workshops are very useful processes to develop collective understanding, approaches, policies, methods, systems, ideas, etc. different type of surveys are a helpful way to repair damage and mistrust among staff – provided you allow people to complete them anonymously, and provided you publish and act on the findings.
Management training, empathy and facilitative capability are priority areas – managers are crucial to the change process – they must enable and facilitate, not merely convey and implement policy from above, which does not work.
You cannot impose change – people and teams need to be empowered to find their own solutions and responses, with facilitation and support from managers, and tolerance and compassion from the leaders and executives. Management and leadership style and behaviour are more important than clever process and policy. Employees need to be able to trust the organization.
The leader must agree and work with these ideas, or change is likely to be very painful, and the best people will be lost in the process.
Change management principles
- At all times involve and agree support from people within system (system = environment, processes, culture, relationships, behaviours, etc., whether personal or organisational).
- Understand where you/the organisation is at the moment.
- Understand where you want to be, when, why, and what the measures will be for having got there.
- Plan development towards above No.3 in appropriate achievable measurable stages.
- Communicate, involve, enable and facilitate involvement from people, as early and openly and as fully as is possible.
‘Eight steps to successful change’
- Increase urgency – inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
- Build the guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
- 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.
- 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.
- Empower action – Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders – reward and recognise progress and achievements.
- 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.
- Don’t let up – Foster and encourage determination and persistence – ongoing change – encourage ongoing progress reporting – highlight achieved and future milestones.
- Make change stick – Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave change into culture
Other points about people and change
Strong resistance to change is often rooted in deeply conditioned or historically reinforced feelings. Patience and tolerance are required to help people in these situations to see things differently. Bit by bit. There are examples of this sort of gradual staged change everywhere in the living world.
Also, certain types of people – the reliable/dependable/steady/habitual/process-oriented types – often find change very unsettling.
People who welcome change are not generally the best at being able to work reliably, dependably and follow processes. The reliability/dependability capabilities are directly opposite character traits to mobility/adaptability capabilities.
Certain industries and disciplines have a high concentration of staff who need a strong reliability/dependability personality profile, for example, health services and nursing, administration, public sector and government departments, utilities and services; these sectors will tend to have many staff with character profiles who find change difficult.
See the personality styles page to help understanding about different types of people.
Age is another factor. Erik Erikson’s fascinating Psychosocial Theory is helpful for understanding that people’s priorities and motivations are different depending on their stage of life.
The more you understand people’s needs, the better you will be able to manage change.
Be mindful of people’s strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone welcomes change. Take the time to understand the people you are dealing with, and how and why they feel like they do, before you take action.
Business development driven change
Business development potentially includes everything involved with the quality of the business or the organization. Business development planning first requires establishing the business development aims, and then formulating a business development strategy, which would comprise some or all of the following methods of development.
- sales development
- new product development
- new market development
- business organization, shape, structure and processes development (eg, outsourcing, e-business, etc)
- tools, equipment, plant, logistics and supply-chain development
- people, management and communications (capabilities and training) development
- strategic partnerships and distribution routes development
- international development
- acquisitions and disposals
Generally business development is partly scientific, and partly subjective, based on the feelings and wishes of the business owners or CEO. There are so many ways to develop a business which achieve growth and improvement, and rarely is just one of these a single best solution. Business development is what some people call a ‘black art’, ie., difficult to analyse, and difficult to apply a replicable process.
Fast changing environments
Planning, implementing and managing change in a fast-changing environment is increasingly the situation in which most organizations now work.
Dynamic environments such as these require dynamic processes, people, systems and culture, especially for managing change successfully, notably effectively optimising organizational response to market opportunities and threats.
Key elements for success:
- Plan long-term broadly – a sound strategic vision, not a specific detailed plan (the latter is impossible to predict reliably). Detailed five years plans are out of date two weeks after they are written. Focus on detail for establishing and measuring delivery of immediate actions, not medium-to-long-term plans.
- Establish forums and communicating methods to enable immediate review and decision-making. Participation of interested people is essential. This enables their input to be gained, their approval and commitment to be secured, and automatically takes care of communicating the actions and expectations.
- Empower people to make decisions at a local operating level – delegate responsibility and power as much as possible (or at least encourage people to make recommendations which can be quickly approved).
- Remove (as far as is possible) from strategic change and approval processes and teams (or circumvent) any ultra-cautious, ultra-autocratic or compulsively-interfering executives. Autocracy and interference are the biggest obstacles to establishing a successful and sustainable dynamic culture and capability.
- Encourage, enable and develop capable people to be active in other areas of the organization via ‘virtual teams’ and ‘matrix management’.
- Scrutinise and optimise ICT (information and communications technology) systems to enable effective information management and key activity team-working.
- Use workshops as a vehicle to review priorities, agree broad medium-to-long-term vision and aims, and to agree short term action plans and implementation method and accountabilities.
- Adjust recruitment, training and development to accelerate the development of people who contribute positively to a culture of empowered dynamism.
‘Troubleshooting’ tips for investigating apparent poor performance
If you are ever give the job of ‘troubleshooting’ or investigating (apparent) poor performance, perhaps in another location or business belonging to your own organisation, or perhaps as a consultancy project, here are some simple tips:
Actually ‘troubleshooting’ isn’t a great word – it scares people. Use ‘facilitator’ or ‘helper’ instead. It sets a more helpful and cooperative tone.
On which point, you could well find that the main issue will be people’s resistance and defensiveness to someone coming in to their organisation do what you are doing. When you overcome that challenge, then you can start comparing what’s happening with what the organisation sets out to do (mission, values, goals, priorities, targets, key performance indicators, processes, measures); how the people feel about things (staff turnover, retention, morale, attitudes); and how customers and suppliers feel about things too (actually go out and visit customers, and ex-customers particularly).
You must observe protocols very diligently – introduce yourself properly to people and explain who you are and what you are doing. Don’t assume that your task gives you the right to be secretive, or to have access to anyone or anything without permission. Ask for help. Ask for introductions. Ask for permission. Be polite and courteous. Respect people more than you would do normally, because they will be sensitive, understandably so.
Look at the Sharon Drew Morgen facilitation method, which helps with the style and approach you should use. You must aim to help, enable and facilitate discovery and clarity, not work in splendid isolation, as an outsider, who’s come to ’sort things out’.
And then be led by the people there as to what can be improved. You should adopt the role of a researcher and enabler rather than a problem solver.
Plan lots of questions that will help people to tell you how they feel about things – customers and staff and suppliers – and what they think can be done to improve things.
Avoid asking ‘why’ unless they’re really trusting you and working with you. Used early, ‘why’ puts people on the defence and you’ll not find out anything.
Look at the customer relationship materials as well – customers will tell you what’s best to focus on, and will give you an early opportunity to facilitate some improvement responses. Also look at the employee motivation survey material.
It’s likely that you’ll have to write a report and recommendations afterwards, in which case try wherever possible to involve the people in what you say about them. Let there be no surprises. Be constructive. Accentuate the positive. Be straight and open with people.
Enjoy the experience. Be respectful and helpful to people and they’ll be respectful and helpful to you.
BUT KEEP IN MIND
Consider what Michael Hammer, co-author of “Re-engineering the Corporation”, has said about the people issues:
“I don’t regret saying anything [in the book]; it’s more what I left out. In particular, the human side is much harder than the technology side and harder than the process side. It’s the overwhelming issue.”
Closely allied to that reason is the lack of leadership and the lack of process to directly address the human aspects of change.
It’s all about people… and processes that work for people
Change management is about how you take an organisation from Position A to Position B, in the fulfillment or implementation of a vision and a strategy and the whole art is to how to carry your people with you, so that the envisaged benefits of the vision and strategy are actually realised.
At root, change management is about process and people. But even process is just about people doing stuff… so ultimately it’s all about people – and processes that work for people.
My intention with this Blog is to give you the broad perspective for managing change, and a specific in leading your people through change, putting it all together and managing the whole messy business.
All this to ensure that you DO succeed and DON’T become part of the 70% of failures.
In the current economic climate, all organisations are experiencing the impacts of change and many could now benefit from the practical knowledge of how to manage change.
The universal relevance to organisations of all sizes and can be “scaled up or down” as you feel is appropriate to your organisation.
” Leading your people through change, putting it all together and managing the whole messy business, is hyper-critical now”
Lip Service is just not enough, it will lead to dead duck in times to comes and business to bankruptcy.
There has to be rules for TQM, Change Managers and all those involved in change. Get to the ground and listen to the sound of wind, keep your ears to the ground.
Change initiators need to drive change, just do not sit in ivory tower and make a suggestion. Get your hands dirty and put your foot in the muddle pool just dont expect others to initiate.
TQM/BPR/PI sits in the corner and looks at the door, as consultants.
Nothing will happen this way, roll your sleeves and work with the group. Change will happen.
What say Thou?
—- HC world congress 2008