The idea behind this concept is that organisations need to get rid of their existing values and polices before they can move onto implementing a new one. The first stage of the model is to ‘unfreeze’ or alter the current way in which the system works. Change is obviously the implementation of the new system, staff or whatever else it may be. Finally ‘refreezing’ the system means stopping and stabilising the change and settling with the new regime whatever it may bring. Many think today, quite correctly in my own opinion, that ‘refreezing’ shouldn’t / doesn’t happen because change is a continuous cycle.In order to save on expenditure some companies implement changes in a rush, only to quickly find out that it’s all wrong and have to start again.
This is why good change management is so important as it can save your department a great deal of money and time in reversing incorrect policies, unreliable operations and system downtime. “Change management … is simply the art of managing change rather than letting change manage you.” “..
. to bring positive results, change has to be managed.”To prevent these damaging chains of events affecting your business, many people have come up with sets of rules that can be followed to help ensure that your changes go smoothly.
Some of these sets of rules are simpler than others, for example Kurt Lewin’s model has been so successful because of its simplicity, where as Derek Pugh’s understanding of organisational change goes into a great deal more depth. The following rules (based on Pugh) are six steps to effective change management:Rule one – Companies must first establish where and why change is needed. Although this sounds obvious it often causes problems due to a lack of communication at the first stage. For example a change in one department might upset another if they aren’t properly informed about it.
This is easily overcome by trying to keep major changes to things that will affect the whole company, for example general policies or customer care. If a manager makes it look like no one single department is being singled out everyone will instantly feel more secure in their workplace.Rule two – It’s important for managers to consider every angle of change and how it will affect everybody involved.
Each employee will see changes and look for his/her own benefits or losses, without really thinking change through at the initial stages many people might feel threatened. To prevent resistance from staff its important managers ask themselves and his/her employees how change will alter their job descriptions? Will it alter group or individual status levels? The answer to all these questions is to give a full explanation and discuss the proposed changes with staff before they happen.Rule three – The last part of rule two leads directly into to this one, saying that change should be gradually introduced by use of thing like discussion groups. Acting on their feedback and allowing them to get more involved will increase employee confidence in the management. These initial discussions will help to determine whether dramatic change is actually necessary and if so where? Rule four – Part of effective change management is to actively encourage those with concerns to voice them.
If objections aren’t heard people may feel disgruntled and lose confidence in their own abilities and workplace. From this the objection should not just be ignored but acted on in its own right, in the form of reassurance or maybe test runs.Rule five – During the changes, managers (and other leaders) must be prepared to alter the way they work themselves. “Modern managers cannot afford the luxury of believing that ‘change is for other people’.” Managers must be willing to stray from their initial plan of change after listening to ideas in the discussion groups. By accepting and implementing employees ideas, the workplace will become a much more confident place. A more radical opinion is that why should change be initiated from the managers? The key to a company accepting a good change scheme from lower down in the business is to have an open minded manager. He must be willing to accept change from a source other than him/her self, if the idea is good enough why not use it?Rule six – After implementing change keep a close check on it, even strengthening it from time to time.
A month after a change has occurred a problem(s) might be seen following a review programme, if so try to make small alterations to solve them. There would be chaos if a major change were to be implemented again too quickly. Everyone involved in the company must be informed on how the changes have gone especially if they have been successful, for example if productivity and profits rate have gone up tell everyone.The important point made throughout all of the six rules is to keep communication levels with employees high at all times, this way there will be a much lower resistance to change throughout the process. The figures below are based on a survey sent out to around 30 public and private sector organisations in the East Midlands area.1.
92% of replies agreed “all managers require a good understanding of change management and principles” 2. 79% of replies believed that change management isn’t a specialised area and doesn’t require professional staff to deal with it3. 61% agreed with the statement, “my effectiveness in helping to implement change is a regular feature of my performance appraisal” 4. 91% thought that knowledge of change management is important at all levels of an organisation This survey was conducted in the year 2000 and I wager if it were to be re-done the percentage for number two would be a great deal lower, as people must be realising change management is a big task.
Hopefully numbers one, three and four would have higher percentages, especially number three. Maybe with surveys such as this companies are beginning to realise change management isn’t easy and there will be resistance unless the properly is conducted.Coping With Change “While the only constant may be change, dealing with change hasn’t changed much.” Once an organisation has resigned to changing their system (or such) they must make sure that all the employees cope with the changes made and feel safe in their jobs. In this section of the paper I shall go through the steps needed to cope with change management and ways to alleviate the emotional pressures that change brings.
The best way to cope with change management is to use the following five steps as a guide:1. Accept change – Just a way of saying the sooner we let go of the past the sooner we can progress to bigger and better things, thus change is universal and inevitable. 2. Anticipate change – As a manager it’s important that you anticipate change before anyone else, it’s a good idea to actually look for change, that way you can’t be surprised when it happens. Studies show that younger managers can anticipate and embrace change better than there older counterparts.
3. Encourage teamwork – Teams offer a company so many advantages especially when it comes to communication up and down the hierarchy of a big business. When in a team you don’t want to be embarrassed so individual involvement, commitment and pride in work increases.
They also make the workplace a friendlier environment. All these factors help to increase production and ease the resistance and pressure change brings about. 4. Invite involvement – Allowing staff to actively get involved in change management leads to increased commitment and security in the workplace. If someone puts forward an idea and it is put into practice they are going to support all the way. Involvement can be in the form of meetings, questionnaires, interviews or just questions and answers sessions.
5. Open communications – Managers cannot afford to forget the staff working around him/her, as changes are planned it is a good idea to keep everyone informed. When it comes to people’s jobs they don’t like surprise, whether it’s good or bad news they would rather know what’s coming and what is going to happen. The emotional pressure of change management can be eased in a number of ways, the underlining theme is always communicating with everyone.Going back to the survey mentioned earlier in the paper people found it ‘good to talk’ and more importantly ‘being able to talk’. Also if someone has the title of ‘Change Leader’ added to there job description, the emotional burden that it brings must be recognised and even exceptions made for them. However, if someone can’t handle being a ‘Change Leader’ then the role must be taken away from him or her for the good of the company.
If this is to be done it is vital that the employees self esteem and confidence is left intact so they can continue performing their existing job to a high standard. The point of all these precautions is to help businesses and employee’s cope with the added pressures that change brings.