Change Management

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Change Management

What was true more than 2,000 years ago is just as true today. We live in a world where "business as usual" ischange. New initiatives, project-based working, technology improvements, staying ahead of the competition – these things come together to drive ongoing changes to the way we work. Whether you're considering a small change to one or two processes, or a system wide change to an organization, it's common to feel uneasy and intimidated by the scale of the challenge. You know that the change needs to happen, but you don't really know how to go about delivering it. Where do you start? Whom do you involve? How do you see it through to the end? There are many theories about how to "do" change. Many originate with leadership and change management guru, John Kotter. A professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned change expert, Kotter introduced his eight-step change process in his 1995 book, "Leading Change." We look at his eight steps for leading change below. Step 1: Create Urgency

For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. This may help you spark the initial motivation to get things moving. This isn't simply a matter of showing people poor sales statistics or talking about increased competition. Open an honest and convincing dialogue about what's happening in the marketplace and with your competition. If many people start talking about the change you propose, the urgency can build and feed on itself. What you can do:

* Identify potential threats, and develop scenarios showing what could happen in the future. * Examine opportunities that should be, or could be, exploited. * Start honest discussions, and give dynamic and convincing reasons to get people talking and thinking. * Request support from customers, outside stakeholders and industry people to strengthen your argument.

Note: 
Kotter suggests that for change to be successful, 75 percent of a company's management needs to "buy into" the change. In other words, you have to work really hard on Step 1, and spend significant time and energy building urgency, before moving onto the next steps. Don't panic and jump in too fast because you don't want to risk further short-term losses – if you act without proper preparation, you could be in for a very bumpy ride.

Step 2: Form a Powerful Coalition
Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Managing change isn't enough – you have to lead it. You can find effective change leaders throughout your organization – they don't necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy. To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance. Once formed, your "change coalition" needs to work as a team, continuing to build urgency and momentum around the need for change. What you can do:

* Identify the true leaders in your organization.
* Ask for an emotional commitment from these key people.
* Work on team building within your change coalition.
* Check your team for weak areas, and ensure that you have a good mix of people from different departments and different levels within your company. Step 3: Create a Vision for Change
When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around. Link these concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp easily and remember. A clear vision can help everyone understand why you're asking them to do something. When people see for themselves what you're trying to achieve, then the directives they're given tend to make more sense. What you can do:

* Determine the values that are central to the change.
* Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that...
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