Introducing Change

Discussing change

Change is an ongoing process. For organisations to manage change effectively, they need to define and communicate the business reasons for implementing the change. To do this, most organisations use a process or model to assist them with planning and implementing the change.

Kurt Lewin formulated a change model that has been used by many organisations. He identified five steps in the change process:

  1. Recognise the need for change

    Identify what needs to be changed.

  2. Prepare for change

    Gain agreement for what is to be changed and why, and who is to be involved.

  3. Unfreeze the organisation

    Managers should develop strategies for winning employee support and identify sources of resistance.

  4. Make the changes

    Implement the changes, possibly using a 'change agent'. This person is often an external consultant so that political agendas and biases from within the company can be avoided.

  5. Refreeze the organisation

    Refreezing or stabilising the organisation means that changes have been made and are becoming part of the culture and company values.

Strategies for your Organisation:

New organisational strategies (or structures and policies), may assist with the change process. These include:

  • Redesigning reward systems to reward behaviours and performance that support the change process.

  • Addressing culture within an organisation as part of the change process. Autocratic and directive management can negatively impact change.

  • Tight deadlines can affect the success of the change, but may not be avoidable. Using staff discussions to gain involvement is the preferred way of dealing with tight deadlines. However, coercion is often used when time is critically short.

  • Management commitment is essential for successful change. Showing support and concern for employee welfare and providing resources for the change is a way to demonstrate this.

For successful change to occur, there needs to be a climate of trust between the managers and the employees. This means that an effective track record needs to have been established in the past. In an organisation where there is faith in the management, employees will expect:

  • Effective and sensible planning

  • Effective decision making

  • Regular and complete communication

Healthy organisations, where such trust and communication exist, are better able to deal with change than those organisations where employees distrust their managers and have little faith in them.

If you would like to read more about Organisational Strategies for Introducing Change, look at the following resources:

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Bouncing Back

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Leading Transition: A New Model for Change