Rapid change in technology, communication and information mean that management leaders must re-examine the fundamentals of their organisations.
'It is no longer true that organisations can Control their own destiny or Operate in a stable and predictable society.'
~ Richard Beckhard & Wendy Pritchard ~
In changing the essence: The art of creating and leading fundamental change in organisations (Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1992)
Therefore to have competitive supremacy, increasing profits and maximum control over company's destiny it is essential to innovate, learn quickly and respond quickly. This must be done by managing transformation within organisations. By being aware of the environment, external trends and working with those within the organisation who are keen to make improvements, a strategic approach will pay dividends.
During times of change we can't define where control lies. We begin to personalise and look to place blame particular people, for the events that are happening, often directing anger against direct managers. Everyone above us becomes a gatekeeper and wherever we turn, others seem to know more than us and are therefore perceived to be more powerful.
We feel the need to control our environment and resist anything we perceive can threaten this control, even if it may bring new opportunities. The effect of this is that we expend more and more energy attempting to control what is closest to us ever more tightly. The world in which we operate in then becomes smaller.
When we feel we are losing environment control it can affect different work areas that are important to us. Such as how we utilise our skills; opportunities for promotion or training; job security; job status and job recognition.
If imposed by management without consultation and we have no opportunity to influence an outcome, our anger may not be overt but will be directed underground causing resentment, conflict and organisational rumour. This can also lead to work related stress and increased sickness absence, a situation that most managers want to avoid.
There is often confusion over the boundaries of people's roles. Ground rules will alter and authority tends to shift until the overall change has been achieved. It is often a time when more risk-orientated individuals make bids for power, whilst the less assertive attempt to hold on to what is familiar. Others will look for guidance, which is often lacking.
When introduced, we have to operate in a new way feeling that the work carried out previously was undervalued and unappreciated. It is important for us to come to terms with feelings about the past and under go a form of grieving. Through this process we consolidate what we valued about the past and prepare ourselves to move on and build a new future.
We all have key beliefs in life, which give meaning to work and actions. If our work is altered it can sometimes be seen as a threat to our key meanings or beliefs. For example a Nurse may see her role as a carer being threatened by being asked to take on a more managerial style and she may perceive this as a threat to her values.
So what can be done to take account of this resistance to change.
Organisations must balance whether the need, the vision of the future and the initial action outweigh the cost involved
Cost of Change > Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps
Organisations need assistance to improve skills in handling the increasing incidence of process change. Indeed many talk about the need for a good manager to be a good change manager, a skill that recruitment organisations emphasise when placing top executives. As there are many people who are resistant we need to focus on why this is and how we tackle those people in order to move forward?
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