Effective Change Management


Ms. Jyothi Raghavan
Regional Director
Rai Business School
Balanagar, Hyderabad-500 037

Change is the only constant thing in the lives of individuals, groups, society, nations and the universe itself.  In today's dynamic technological, social, political, economic and legal environment, change is all-encompassing in organizations. It happens continuously, and often at rapid speed. It is rightly said that "to be where we are, we have to run fast!

The change we refer here has got a broad list of topics.  For an individual, change may mean a new behavior.  Similarly from the point of view of a businessman, it may mean a new business process or new technology.  From the social view, it can be a new act or policy.  For the success of change management, active and enthusiastic participation of the employees or people is essential.

Change Management is concerned with two sets of people  i.e., one those who want to effect change and second is those on whom change is to be effected.  Change management is the effective process of a business change such that executive leaders, managers and front line employees work in consonance to successfully implement the technology or organizational changes.  Every organization in the recent time is facing the pressure for change may be due to globalisation, government initiatives, or any other reason in order to improve productivity, achieve better results.  The pace of change is increasing day by day and it is an art to develop the skill of living with the change and also managing the change.

Change Management means "to make changes in a planned and systematic way by introducing new methods in an ongoing organization".  Change management also constitutes the management of the change and its impact on the people.  In simple words Change management is nothing but the new ways of thinking, working, engaging and interacting to build an organization.  It requires a shift in our mindsets and mental models in such a way that we commit ourselves to making tough choices and implementing  them.   One important aspect that we need to take care is that, just because a Manager wants to implement change, he cannot expect that everyone in the organization will be ready to accept it.  One can expect enthusiastic acceptances level of only 20% to 30% whereas the rest will resist the change.

This concept is not new to Indians, because change management programmes were conducted for Ministers in the Indian government and civil service officers during the 1980s.

Change Management encompasses in itself certain elements like changing the overall strategy of the organization or include or delete certain practices which are under operation.  The change has to be undertaken carefully at various levels and needs to be developed according the nature, size and type of organization.   This may be one of the important reasons why almost all B Schools are incorporating the topic organization development and change in the curriculum.

A Manager before introducing change needs to necessarily understand the basic  systems and structures in the organizations, including their typical terms and roles.  The following factors may lead to a necessity for change.

To improve performance
To reduce waste and inefficiency
To improve management control and satisfaction of the employees
To improve the quality and productivity of an organisation
To compete in the changing market environment

Merger or Acquisition

Promote continuous improvement through the setting of new performance targets and monitoring minimize the impact on productivity

Avoid unnecessary turnover or loss of valued employees
Eliminate any adverse impact on the customers
To achieve the desired business results as early  as possible

Logistics of Change Management:

Change Management is like a journey and for succeeding the same; manager has to draw a road map for this journey.  For example, the map may be drawn in the following way:

(a) Description of the change
(b) Explain the need for change
(c) How the change is going to be made
(d) How this change is going to have a positive impact
(e) Who is responsible for the change?
(f) Will appropriate support staff be available?
(g) The strategic plans of the organization
(h) Objectives of the people
(i) Key roles and responsibilities
(j) Vision and purpose to obtain excellence
(k) Details of the change process
(l) Timing and resources available
(m) Measurements

Facilitating change:

The total responsibility for change lies with the Management and the senior executives of an organization.   The employee does not have a responsibility to manage change.  The only responsibility of an employee is to do their best. The managers should able to manage change in such a way that their employees are able to cope up with the change.  The Manager needs to act as a facilitator to effect change, help employees understand the reasons, objectives and methods of responding positively.  Managers cannot simply convey and implement the policy and cannot impose change.  Employees needs to be empowered to enable them indentify their own solutions and responses with support from managers.  More than the policy and process of change management, it is the leadership style and behavior of the management which is more important to create a trust among employs in the organization.

Resistance to Change

As usual, whenever there is any change, there tends to be resistance.  This resistance can fall in two categories one Direct and other Indirect.  To name a few finding fault, ridiculing, manipulating, criticism at every point etc., fall under Direct resistance.  Indirect resistance will be in the form of not following the change though verbally agreed, showing ignorance, concealing facts or informations etc.

Employees resist change because they have to learn something new. In many case there is no resistance on the benefits of the new process is going to bring, but it is the fear of unknown future and their ability to cope up with it.    In many organizations the change management came to a virtual halt due to the resistance it encountered during its implementation.

1. At a staff meeting everyone agrees to utilize a new procedure, but several weeks later you discover that the procedure has not been implemented.

2.  When computerization is introduced, though all staff insist that they need individual computer, nobody is using them for the purpose for which they were intended.

3. The employee consents to the change by appearing co-operative, but infact doing the things in the same way as he was doing before implementing change.

Why change projects fail ?:

More often, change projects fails  due to the lack of effective change management than any other reason.   In many cases, the teams lack the basic understanding of  what change management is and how to implement change management tactics When changes are made, many employees do not have knowledge base of why the change is being  made.

They also do not share the same accountabilities as managers.  The outcome is a hazardous mix of various priorities, different knowledge sets and different driving forces. If the change is not managed properly, these different values and driving forces clash with each other  resulting in unfortunate outcomes for the Organisation.

Managing Change:

It is very important that the change manager anticipate, and plan strategies for dealing with resistance. This applies not only at the introduction of the change, but there must be follow-through, so that the change manager monitors the change over the long-term, being alert for difficulties as the appear.  Communication before, during and after the change is one of the most important parts of change management.

1. To ensure that adequate advance notice is given, especially when a response is expected.

2. To ensure that people are clear as to whom to respond, if they have any difficulties or concerns.

Change management is a difficult and demanding process to pursue within an organisational context, not least because employees often find it difficult coping with change. Some of the ways for managing the change management process.

* Encourage Employee Participation
* Establish Clear Communication channels
* Appoint a Change Champion
* Schedule of timetable for the change
* To adopt examples of good practice
* Ensure not to change too many things at one time.

To conclude it can be said that by encouraging employees involvement and delegating responsibility downward to shape the change becomes continuous. This is because people develop greater awareness and a different mind set with which they actually want to continually improve.  To be effective, the project must recognize, respect and leverage the knowledge, insights and opportunities that this change can bring.  Effective change is nothing but winning over people in the organization.

Ms. Jyothi Raghavan
Regional Director
Rai Business School
Balanagar, Hyderabad-500 037

Source: E-mail April 6, 2009


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