¶ … CEO Decision
A strong point in the data is that the respondents were quite frank, and if one can believe the data, they were honest about how they feel about change in their organization. Few people enjoy change and most people are at least moderately frustrated by change. The very nature of change is that it is disruptive and pushes people to the point of discomfort and cognitive dissonance.
The first thing that people think about when faced with change is how it will impact the directly. Following that very substantive consideration, people begin to think about how they will accomplish the changes that they cannot avoid. An employee who voices opposition to the change but is open to alternatives is not necessarily going to be oppositional throughout the change effort. For instance, as with the employee below, they may just be at a particular level of concern that they need help to get over and resolve"
"I spoke up against it to my superiors and discussed it with my other teachers to try to find an alternative that was more palatable."
Or, alternately, if they are at all in alignment with the change processes, they will begin to focus on how the changes will improve their situation, their team effort, and the company's bottom line. For instance, an employee who says the following can be identified as a change agent:
"I went to the leadership people and offered to help in any way I could."
The topic of change has garnered a great deal of attention in the literature. A number of researchers and analysts are quite well-known simply because they have figured out ways to effectively bring about change within an organization with the least amount of disruption and the greatest degree of benefit. Rogers (2003) established a framework for examining how innovations are spread throughout an organization and the roles that people assume in response to the diffusion of the innovation. Similarly, Hall & Hord (2004) instituted the Change-Based Adoption Model (C-BAM) after years of researching how educators and business people adapted to change. The C-BAM model articulates Stages of Concern and Levels of the Use of Innovation as guidelines for understanding and mitigating the responses that people have to change in their organizations and in their practice.
Kotter's Eight Steps for Change
CEO David Long certainly feels a sense of urgency regarding the sweeping change he wishes to make within the organization. It is not necessary for everyone to be onboard in order to accomplish a major change -- in fact, this is a highly unlikely scenario. That said, it is critical for leaders to be visibly supportive of a change initiative. And the active voice and highly visible engagement by leaders does in itself convey a sense of urgency to employees. Kotter's rule of thumb is that successful change requires 75% of the management to be supportive of the change initiative. Implementing change cannot occur too rapidly if it is to be successful. Expecting too much, trying to do too much too fast will lead to discouragement and most likely failure of the initiative. To support the change effort, it is important to accomplish the following: Create a sense of urgency, recruit powerful change leaders, build a vision and effectively communicate it, remove obstacles, create quick wins, and build on the momentum.
It is critical to form a powerful coalition as a leader cannot bring about sweeping change alone. Change has to be both managed and led. Change agents at every level of an organization are important to the quality of the ultimate changes. The qualitative and quantitative data can be used to identify potential change agents, assuming that the responses were not all acquired with a promise of anonymity.
Visions are an important aspect of change initiatives. It is up to the leaders of an organization to identify and articulate the vision for change. But it is also really helpful for the employees to be engaged in describing aspects...
When people have a clear vision, the steps to accomplishing the vision and the directives that are associated with those steps all become part of a larger picture that they can understand -- and in which they understand their own important roles.
It is not enough to create a vision; an organizational vision must be communicated to others. To compete in the busy fabric of all the day-to-day communications that take place in an organization, it is necessary to ensure the vision is heard about often and that the messages powerfully convey the benefits of the vision. Daily reminders of the vision that everyone is working toward go a long way toward keeping it top-of-mind.
Facilitating a change effort requires the identification and removal of obstacles, otherwise, it may be difficult or impossible to make forward progress with implementation of the change vision. Structures, processes, and people who function as barriers to the effective implementation of the change initiative require the attention of leaders and the change team. When obstacles are removed for people, an empowering dynamic is often experienced and this can carry the organization forward to an impressive degree.
Creating short-term wins is important to fighting the change initiative fatigue that plagues people who have been working on change for some time. As with any large effort, creating smaller buckets of work and focus support a more sustained effort and enable employees to be rewarded more often for their work and support.
The process of building the change that is wanted requires maintaining the effort so that each phase or stage can be used as a platform or scaffolding for achieving the next stage. What this means for leadership is to plan for a sustained effort and to mete out the charges to move forward in meaningful sequences rather than all at once, which is overwhelming to staff and will quickly lead to burn out.
Any change effort is strengthened by anchoring the changes in the culture of the organization. The change must become central to the organization in the same way that the vision was during the change effort. Organizational culture is a primary determiner of what is accomplished by employees and management, so it is important the values that support the vision are present in the daily work.
A recommendation for imparting a sense of urgency is to clearly identify how not making the proposed changes threatens the organization. This can be accomplished by developing and communicating various scenarios that show what can happen if the change is not implemented. A recommendation for building a change coalition is to identify the true leaders in the organization and not be influenced by titles and status, but rather look for people who are capable of influencing others. Then ensure that the change agents selected work effectively as members of a larger team.
A recommendation for establishing a change vision is to begin with the values that are central to the change effort and to summarize the vision in a way that provides a picture of the changed organization in the future. From there, it becomes easier to articulate strategies that will bridge the gap between the organization as it currently is and the organization that everyone wants to have and work in.
A recommendation for communicating the change vision is talk it about it often and to talk about it with people at all levels of the organization. An important part of this communication process is to talk with employees about their concerns and fears related to the changes. Also, the vision should find traction in all parts of the organization.
A recommendation regarding the facilitation of change is to ensure that those individuals who are in a leadership or management position are behind the change initiative, and that they hire people who are also supportive of the change. The change effort should be reflected in job descriptions and performance evaluations such that those people who facilitate the change effort are rewarded for doing so.
A recommendation is to make sure that small changes are visibly celebrated and made a part of the storytelling that takes place around the change effort. Quick wins should be considered stair steps to the new change that is being constructed through the efforts of employees each day.
A recommendation for building on the change is to provide opportunities to assess each win in order to figure out what has gone well and what needs to be improved for next time. Setting goals that build on the successes already achieved will help to ensure that the momentum is sustained and the improvements continue.
A recommendation for anchoring the change in the organizational culture is to talk about the successes and make them part of the stories that are told over time. It is also important to recognize the people who have been actively supporting the change effort from the beginning, and to ensure that new hires and the trainings provided reflect the…
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