THE MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE - THE SUCCESS FACTOR
Change is intensely PERSONAL. For change to occur in any organisation, each INDIVIDUAL must think, feel, or do something different. Even in large organisations, which depend on thousands of employees understanding company STRATEGIES well enough to translate them into appropriate actions, leaders must WIN their followers one by one.
Think of this as 30,000 people having conversation experiences and ending up at a predetermined place at the same time. Small wonder that corporate and even Small and Medium Enterprises change is such a difficult and frustrating item on virtually every company’s agenda. The `Management of Change` can be simple, so read on and see why!
The problem (challenge) for most executives is that managing change is unlike any other managerial task they have ever confronted. Most Chief Executive`s and Chief Operating Officer`s have NEVER experienced managing change or NEVER been trained to manage change. One CEO at a large company told me that when it comes to handling the most complex operation problem (issue), he has all the skills he needs. But when it comes to managing change, the model he uses for operational issues doesn’t work. " It's like the company is undergoing FIVE medical procedures at the same time," " One person is in charge of the `ROOT-Canal job`, someone else is setting the `BROKEN FOOT `, another person is working on the `DISPLACED SHOULDER`, and still another is getting `RID OF THE GALLSTONE`, each operation is a success, but the patient `DIES OF SHOCK`!
The problem (challenge) is simple, we are using a MECHANISTIC MODEL, first applied to managing physical work, and superimposing it into the new MENTAL MODEL of TODAY`S `knowledge` organisation. We keep breaking change into SMALL PIECES and then managing the pieces. But, with change, the task is to manage the DYNAMIC, not the pieces.
The challenge is to innovate MENTAL WORK not to replicate physical work. The GOAL is to teach thousands of people how to think strategically, recognise patterns, and anticipate problems (issues) and opportunities before they occur.
Managing change is not like operating a machine or treating the human body, one ailment at a time. But of these activities involve working with a fixed set of relationships. Most organisations today find themselves under-taking a number of projects as part of their change effort. But the key to the change effort is not attending to each piece in isolation; it is CONNECTING and BALANCING all the pieces. In managing change, the critical task is understanding how pieces balance off one another, how changing ONE element changes the rest, how sequencing and pace affect the WHOLE structure.
One tool that companies can use to provide that critical balances is `THE TRANSITION MANAGEMENT TEAM`, a group of company leaders, reporting to the CHIEF EXECUTIVE, who commit all their time and energy to managing the change process. When that process has stabilised, the TMT disbands, until then it oversees the change effort. Managing change means managing the conversation between the PEOPLE leading the change effort and those who are expected to implement the NEW strategies, managing the organisational context in which change can occur, and managing the EMOTIONAL connection that are ESSENTIAL for ANY transformation.
The ` TRANSITION MANAGEMENT TEAM ` has eight primary responsibilities. This team is not, however, solely accountable for fulfilling these tasks.
1) ESTABLISH CONTEXT FOR CHANGE AND PROVIDE GUIDANCE
The CHIEF EXECUTIVE and other executives establish the company’s strategic vision. The ` TRANSITION MANAGEMENT TEAM ` makes sure that everyone in the organisation SHARES a common understanding of that vision and understands the company’s competitive situation. By organising discussions throughout the organisation the TMT spreads the company’s vision and competitive situation so that INDIVIDUALS and TEAMS can accurately align their OWN activities with the company’s new overall direction.
2) STIMULATE CONVERSATION
Most old, larger companies have formalised their operations in such functional ISOLATION that conversations across levels or functions RARELY take place. Instead, people have grown accustomed to presentations followed by inquisitions. Moreover, when resources are scarce and time pressures are severe, conversation often seems a luxury. Yet most change efforts are fundamentally about moving INFORMATION across old and obsolete boundaries. Consequently, organising early conversations between different parts of the company and making those conversations an important, sanctioned part of the change process is a CRITICAL task for the TMT. Early, open-ended conversations often result in the most PRODUCTIVE OUTCOME, conversely, project leaders who press for early results and close off conversation inside the company, usually get to the end of a project with LITTLE to show in the way of NEW insight or real breakthrough thinking.
3) PROVIDE APPROPRIATE RESOURCES
The TMT has TWO TYPES of significant power;
a.) The power to allocate resources to make things happen,
b.) The power to kill projects that are no longer needed.
The first category, the TMT does command time and budget. Frequently, change efforts falter because the people who are drafted to play important roles in leading teams work only on the margins. As a result, the team never has a real process owner or receives adequate attention. The TMT can change that, it can designate individuals who take on the authority and are given the time and resource to do the job properly.
The TMT can also kill off old projects that no longer have a high priority. In many organisations, the operating maxis is ` OLD PROJECTS NEVER DIE, THEY JUST GET UNDERFUNDED `. Nobody is willing to make the TOUGH decision to cut a project that has outlined its usefulness. The result is a lot of projects that are more dead than alive but still distracting people and using resources. The TMT needs to be the TOUGH-MINDED terminator of these projects.
4) CO-ORDINATE AND ALIGN PROJECTS
As company’s shift into fast-paced change programmes, task forces, teams and projects proliferate. One result is a great deal of enthusiasm, energy, and activity. Another is confusion. Even if every activity is valid and necessary, the problem is that they don’t seem to fit together. The TMT has two tasks;
a.) Co-ordinating and aligning the projects into building blocks that fit together;
b.) Communicating to the whole organisation how the pieces align so that others can see the larger picture and appreciate that there is a coherent plan.
5) ENSURE CONGRUENCE OF MESSAGES, ACTIVITIES, POLICIES AND BEHAVIOURS
One of the major complaints of people in organisations undergoing a transition is the management does not " WALK THE TALK ", they say "EMPOWERMENT" and then shoot down every new idea that comes from their employees. The TMT`s job is to be on the lookout for inconsistencies that undermine the credibility of the change effort. The message, the measures, the behaviours, and the rewards must match.
6) PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOINT CREATION
Most change programmes today embrace the concept of ` EMPOWERMENT `, but never get around to defining it. In some companies, empowerment essentially is, " Do what I say and act as if you like it." In others, it is interpreted to mean, " Everybody gets to vote on everything". My working definition of EMPOWERMENT is a TRUE opportunity for employees throughout the company to create the future TOGETHER.
That means ensuring that ALL employees, whether Directors, Managers, Factory workers, or Technical staff, have the information they need to make CORRECT decisions and take appropriate actions. Clearly, the TMT cannot do ALL the communicating and teaching, it is the Designer, co-ordinator and support source for that learning and creation.
7) ANTICIPATE, IDENTIFY AND ADDRESS PEOPLE PROBLEMS
There is a reason why the guide and the communications and human resources teams are ALL represented on the TMT, PEOPLE issues are at the HEART OF CHANGE. For example, a change that involves delayering, changing job descriptions or compensation also requires advance notification and long lead-time. COMMUNICATIONS and HUMAN RESOURCES are critical to success, yet there are routine shortages of talent, diversity of perspective, pounds and share of mind. Cross-functional teams in communications and human resources represent an OPPORTUNITY for gathering and distributing information, both horizontally and vertically, throughout the organisation.
8) PREPARE THE CRITICAL MASS
Given the complexity of scale-up from creating the pilot to making it the norm, it is important to design into the work from the very BEGINNING the resources and strategy necessary for replication and learning transfer. Most teams will need guidance on how to do this as well as help to make sure that what they are doing FITS with other activities.
The organising element of all these activities is the HARD WORK of EDUCATING, TRAINING and preparing the organisation to think, feel and act differently. In companies where change is successful, the leaders look at the whole mobile and the congruence of operations and emotions. It is far easy to equate change with specific tasks when the TMT manages the content and the process, the operations and the emotions; it provides a powerful lever for change.
The real contribution of leadership in a time of change lies in MANAGING the DYNAMICS, not the pieces.
The fundamental job of leadership is to deal with the dynamics of change, the confluence and congruence of the forces that change unleashes, so that the company is better prepared to compete and to be more successful.
The `right` People = Performance = Productivity = Profit
Fresh thinking requires a vision to see beyond the conventional. When you combine excellent quality with outstanding value for money you will begin to realise the full potential of creative and well presented business solutions. Together, the sky`s the limit. Have passion to learn and let the knowledge help you to be successful in life.
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by Colin Thompson ISBN: 978-1-84549-289-2
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Note: About the Author Colin Thompson
Colin is a former successful Managing Director of Transactional/Print Manufacturing Plants, Print Management/Workflow Solutions companies and other organisations, former Group Chairman of the Academy for Chief Executives and Non-Executive Director, helping companies raise their `bottom-line` and `increase cash flow`. Plus, helping individuals to be successful in business and life in general. Author of several publications, research reports, guides, business and educational models on CD-ROM's/Software and over 400 articles published on business and educational subjects worldwide. International Speaker and Visiting University Professor.
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The Management of Change!