Resistance to change that is experienced by organizations is based more on objections to the content and the direction of the change itself. The first reason is because not all organizational changes have been well thought through. The second reason being that there is a big difference between strategically changing for the better and reactively changing for simple survival as a business entity.
The norm today is change, and not just changes to your firmÃs way of doing, but also significant deep changes that demand of your organization to fundamentally reexamine and redefine it's basic purpose, it's sense of identity, it's core values, and it's very ways of thinking. Such changes at such strategic and foundational levels are, before anything else, cultural change. Facilitating cultural change, whether it is within a small team, a department, or an entire organization is in its essence all about understanding how people learn and change and grow together as a learning community.
Organizations don't change, people do and behaviors must. It is possible to change structures and organizational charts, but people ultimately control organizations. No change will be successful unless the culture of an organization supports it. People cannot be programmed like computers or operated like machines. For an organization to change, the people in it have to change along with it. And it is not sufficient that some individuals in the organization change. Leading the optimal culture requires dedication, special mindsets, and specific models, strategies and communication abilities.
Until a leader can influence organizational culture not much changes at all. It requires a special skill set to lead culture change. A leader must have the vision to chart the course, demonstrate commitment to the process and possess the interpersonal and communication skills to sell that vision. Mere buy in is not enough. What is needed is a culture that shares the vision and is motivated to do what ever it takes to get there. It is a function of leadership to inspire such a culture.
Successful change means that the culture itself must change. According to Harvard Professor Edgar Schein: Culture is the shared tacit assumptions of a group that it has learned in coping with external tasks and dealing with internal relationships. Although culture manifests itself in overt behavior, rituals, artifacts, climate and espoused values, its essence is the shared tacit assumptions. As a responsible leader, you must be aware of these assumptions and manage them, or they will manage you.
Creating a flexible plan, embedding the change initiative at the cultural level of the firm with tolerance for generational influences while providing a focus that supports the people with resources to be able to make the change will ensure that the organization realizes their results. There is no right culture when exploring various culture change models, instead there is an optimal culture for each organization based on the true mission that will propel their results. Implementing a modest change first, designed to deliver an immediate impact will often give the employees a sense of security, accomplishment and a platform of synchronization to build from.
Benefits of implementing an effective change initiative include: overcome employee resistance to change; succession planning; employee alignment and engagement; minimize turnover issues; raise service standards; and improve stakeholder returns.
The Dynamics of Change
The Dynamics of Change
- People do not like surprises when it alters their expected routine.
- People feel insecure about change.
- People may scheme about how not to change.
- People often feel they don't have enough resources or support.
- People can only handle so much change at a time.
- People may revert to old ways when the pressure is off.
Sample Checklist Points for Success:
- Mission, vision, values, goals and change initiative (including why and benefits) master plan established.
- Targeted stakeholder communication plan (the communication is customized for each stakeholder group) to ensure maximum participation has been prepared.
- The benefits to accepting the change initiative communicated.
- Skill requirements and training outlined.
- Current state of resources have been assessed and evaluated in terms of future state.
- Timetable for deliverables established.
- On-going measurements have been identified and utilized with rewards and consequences.
- Refinement strategy established
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