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Below are some extracts from our Managing Change manual.

Managing Change

 Organisation

Typically causes of change can be split into two categories: Internal and External.

No organisation is an island and external forces are always influencing and interacting with its existence. Individuals and organisations may have very little ability to influence such external factors such as politics, culture, economy, societal changes, or technology. It is important to understand that if the change is the result of an external factor, accept the change, and then modify any internal processes or items that are affected by the external influence.

Internal factors are very numerous, as almost any item or event can influence change within an organisation, but some of the more influential ones are employees, policies, organisation structure, managerial, and financial. With internal causes of change, we have the most ability to control and prepare the outcomes of such events. The benefits of this are numerous as we can prepare for them with education, communication, training, and support. These tools will help mitigate any negative outcomes which may occur as a result of the change.

Leadership in change management involves aligning people with an organisation’s issue or need, allowing them to see that they are working together toward an important cause.

 

Reactions and perspectives

We all deal with change differently. Organisations are no different. Here are some common reactions to change:

·       Denial: If a change is announced some people may feel that the change is not necessary. They may be reluctant to listen or deny any facts or information presented to support the change.

·       Resistance: With any change, there will always be people who resist the change. Resistance is very common and stems from a fear of the unknown. Not knowing how an event is going to turn out can be a scary event for those who go through the change.

·     Anger: When change occurs and the norm is uprooted, people can experience anger. People may lash out and become uncooperative during this time. Humans are creatures of habit, and when that changes people can become angry.

·       Indifference: People just may not care, or the change may not have an impact on their routines or work. Be wary of this, as the change may be intended to have an impact, if the individual is indifferent about it the change then they may not understand or accept it.

·     Acceptance: Changes generally occur for the better and have a positive influence on those involved. Even with positive change acceptance may not happen right away, but should occur quicker as opposed to when the change is perceived to be negative.

What’s in it for Me?

For change to be successful, people must desire to support and participate in the change. Simply building awareness does not generate desire. Showing everyone what is in it for them will produce a great starting point and help generate support. The beginning of the change process is very important and showing the affected parties how the change will improve their environment will initiate the process on the right foot.

In order to answer the question “What’s in it for Me?”, or WIFM, change management leadership must create energy and engagement around the change. This builds momentum and instils support at all levels of the organisation. Factors that influence WIFM are:

·       The nature of the change

·       The organisational context for the change

·       An employee’s personal situation

·       What motivates the person as an individual?

 

Strategies for thriving during organisational change

Preparing for change is very important as with preparation comes more chance of success. These tools will help facilitate the change process and provide it with the best chances for success.

·       Communication: Keep the lines of communication open before, during and after the change as on the fly changes may be needed. This will help with any unforeseen events that occur during the change. It will also help to learn for the event which should make future changes occur even smoother.

·       Education: Educate all parties the reasons for the change, and what the expected outcomes will be. People want to know why a change is occurring. It will also help to stop and clear up any rumours that may have been spread.

·       Training: Make sure all parties are trained and up to date with any and all material required for the change. A very important step if the change involves adding or removing any pertinent in the business.

·       Flexibility: When change is planned for not all events can be foreseen. Be flexible and ready to modify or update the current plan to account for any unforeseen events.

·       Affected Parties: It is especially important to have the individuals that are involved in the change participate in the change process. They may be able to shed light on the subject from an expert's point of view.

These tools will help battle any negative reactions when they occur, and with more preparation, the change should be smoother.

 

Communicating Change

The leader must make sure that the project and communication plan remains on track. They need to identify, and explore any issues from employees or stakeholders that have emerged, and review and consider any feedback gathered to date.

Acting as a facilitator, the leader helps to bring about learning and productivity. Communication will be a byproduct of this by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, and supervision.

He or she listens actively, asks questions, encourages diverse viewpoints, organizes information, helps the group reach consensus, and understands that the individual needs of team members will affect teamwork.

The LEAD model provides a simple methodology for facilitating a participative meeting:

·       Lead with objectives:  When clear objectives are stated up front, group energy is channelled toward achieving an outcome. The objectives shape the content of the meeting.

·       Empower to participate: In the Lead model, the facilitator is empowered to encourage active participation.

·       Aim for consensus: Getting the team to consensus will have members more likely to support and carry out the decisions of the team.

·       Direct the process: How the meeting progresses will influence the quality of the decisions of the team, and influence the commitment of team members.

Leaders must differentiate between process and content. Content includes the topics, subjects, or issues; process is about how the topics, subjects, or issues are addressed.

Sharing the Results and Benefits

In order to sustain the impact of a change, it is important for everyone who is involved in the process to know what results are occurring. This occurs across a number of dimensions.

Ongoing feedback is needed from employees at all levels. Using an electronic delivery method improves throughput.

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