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Change Management in Working Places

Changes in working places happen more and more often nowadays. I have experienced myself so many dynamic/unstable working places that I decided to explore a bit this topic.

The reasons may be different: new challenges imposed by the market or by the customers, new technologies or new policies.

You can experience both personal and organisational changes. Personal changes may be transitions or career moves; organisational changes may be reorganisation or adjustment in the managerial structure.

The main goal for the manager(s) taking the lead of the innovation is to get the buy-in of their staff and the other managers. They need to minimise the impact on productivity, reduce the adverse impact on stakeholders and achieve the desired outcomes as soon as possible.

A common reaction that you can expect is resistance to change. Have a look at the following graphics, that shows how it goes with individual emotions:

Resistance to change
A change consists in leaving an old situation, in which you are in your comfort zone because you can control the environment, to go in a new and unknown setting.

To be able to do this as a leader, you need to perform some actions:

  1. Give flawless information and clear direction;
  2. Present the long-term vision and translate it into a step by step action plan;
  3. Involve as much as possible all the staff by sharing your leadership and assigning responsibilities.

John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned change expert, introduced an eight-step process in his 1995 book, “Leading Change.” Have a look at them:

  1. Create urgency: get everyone talking about the reasons for change
  2. Form a powerful coalition: find people at all levels and from across your organization who will support you
  3. Create a vision: sum up the difference that your transformation will make
  4. Communicate your vision: be clear and inspirational but also honest
  5. Remove obstacles: quickly tackle any processes or people who might be blocking change
  6. Create short-terms wins: set small goals that contribute to the big change, so that everyone can see and enjoy the progress
  7. Build on the change: practice your new processes to make sure they are solid. Keep looking out for opportunities to improve even more
  8. Anchor the change in your culture: celebrate and record every success, and recruit and retain people who share your values.

How do you react to change? Do you think that a change can be considered also a chance?

Cristiana @ crisbiecoach.

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18 thoughts on “Change Management in Working Places

  1. These are very good tops, and I always think that smaller incremental changes are much easier for people to handle and to implement than large sweeping changes, if the circumstances permit.

  2. Having been victimized many times by poorly realized, ractionalized and conceptualized changes, I could not agree more with Kotter. I left my last job in part because my work week went from 5 meetigns to 35 meetings a week – thanks to change management. Unfortunately Kotter is not required reading at most companies.

    1. From 5 to 35 meetings a week? The person who decided about that was not a good leader, I believe. And definitely they did not read Kotter! Thank you for commenting!

  3. Really enjoyed your article crisbiecoach. I shared it with the school principals in our building as a positive resource. Like many places, we are going through many changes, including high staff turnover. In that light, your article is spot on!

  4. Another wonderfully rich post, Cristiana; thank you for sharing it with us. As I read your post, I briefly imagined what it must be like for a new hired leader to face those first few days as he/she attempted to get the “buy-in” of staff who might be reluctant to change. Most persons (myself included, at one time) are resistant to change, because there is the illusion that the “known” is where safety and security lie. But ultimately, the apparent safety may be revealed as a mindset and way of being that inhibits growth.
    The article also made me think about some principles related to the law of attraction: First, know what you desire with a passion. We “affirm” what we desire (this is the change I desire–visualize having it now) and then “confirm” the victories along the new path. This builds momentum of change.

    As to your questions: “How do you react to change? Do you think that a change can be considered also a chance?” Change can be quite frightening for persons, especially if they don’t see it coming, but change is ultimately where we experience new opportunities for growth.
    I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

    1. Thank you Art for the very inspiring reply. I agree that the “known” is where safety and security lie. Actually it is the ego protecting us from the unknown change that will eventually happen.

      1. Hello Cristiana,

        You’re welcome! I may not have made myself clear. What I intended to express was that there is the illusion of safety and security in the “known.” True security arises when we knowingly recognize (know again) that deeper dimension of true Self within us. That is the “Rock” referred to in the Bible (the gospel of Matthew, 7: 24-27). It’s the parable of the wise and the foolish men. Thanks again!

  5. I love your question about whether change is also a chance. It’s so thought-provoking but also reveals an underlying truth that when things are in flux, it uncovers opportunities. True in work and also in life. Thank you for another wonderful and thought-provoking post!

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