Monday, July 20, 2015

Effective Change Management Leaders.Change Is An Integral Part In Our Life.

Why Change Management Leadership so Important for Individual As Well For An Organisation.
Leadership is directly correlated to and is synonymous with change.Leadership in the 21st century requires the ability to continuously manage crisis and change. Change is often a complex and arduous process. Change calls for a transformation in the way people think, systems and processes, organizational behaviour and subsequent culture. Good leaders embrace the concept of change management. Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It’s about enlisting people and keeping them committed. Change is the new normal for leadership success. To remain stagnant is to become extinct. “A thing of the past.”
The mistake that most organizations make is they gave the systems and process their primary attention whilst people are just secondary. Change should be people centered. In certain situations where things are unfavourable and a downsizing strategy may be utilized, as the leader you have the power to make the whole process more humane and not just callous. Those employees who are left will always be suspicious of management. Certain changes may be non-negotiable, but how you lead it makes all the difference.
Resistance to change is the largest obstacle that leaders are faced with when initiating a change effort. A 2006 study by Harvard Business Review found that 66% of change initiatives fail to achieve their desired business outcomes.
 The Five Most Common obstacles to change:   
  • Employee Resistance
  • Communication Breakdown
  • Insufficient time devoted to training
  • Staff turnover during transition
  • Cost exceeded budget

Change Management must be approached at the following 3 Levels:

1. Self

  • What is my role as a change leader? - Vision, Communication and Emotional Intelligence
  • What is my leadership style in driving significant change? – Transformational Leadership
It’s important for leaders to understand the complexity of implementing a change initiative and their role and responsibilities in leading and supporting that change.
Create the Vision- A change effort must start with a vision that paints a compelling picture of the desired future. It will assist in motivating those that are impacted to take action in the right direction. It’s important to clarify rational behind the change and connect the big picture to the purpose. You must also be passionate. Show enthusiasm and commitment.
Communication is crucial - How you communicate the change vision can either ease or escalate fear. Communication should be simple and heartfelt thereby speaking to anxieties confusion, anger and distrust. Supply realistic detail of both the positives and negatives of the change and provide key information on a consistent basis. Be a person of your word, don’t make promises you cannot keep. Plan to assess employee’s reactions to change via surveys. Maintain regular review meetings with key staff and adapt the organizations meeting structure and agenda's to support the improved status and processes.
As a leader force yourself to be at the front lines. This will definitely boost morale. Silence will be interpreted unfavourably gaps will be filled by the grapevine.

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." ~George Bernard Shaw.

Emotional Intelligence - It's important to consider the personal impact on those affected, and their journey towards working and behaving in new ways to support the change. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to help others manage difficult change. Managing the way you respond to events and your ability to communicate effectively is essential for leaders of organizational change.
Being emotionally intelligent includes the following skills which are recognized as central to success in leadership and to your ability to manage change.
  • Self Awareness: The ability to understand your responses to situations and other people’s feelings and emotion.
  • Self-Management: The ability to the ability to harness emotions to facilitate cognitive activities as problem solving and to motivate ourselves.
  • Social Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand the feelings and emotions of others. This includes skills in empathy.
  •  Relationship Management: The ability to express your emotions and to communicate effectively.
I once worked for an organization that undertook a major change that included a relocation and upgrade in system. Even the name of the department was changed and our manager Ed was reassigned so quickly we never even got to give him a farewell celebration -The Memorable Leader.The change process was very difficult for employees to deal with as the new management lacked emotional intelligence. We never got closure. Even the mentioning of Ed’s name became taboo.
That’s why it’s important to assess and address how the changes will affect people.Let employees know that you understand the range of emotions associated with change. Losses should be openly acknowledged. Show care and concern and allow them time to grieve. Treat the past with respect. Allow people to take a piece of the past with them as this will allow a smoother acceptance to change.
Transformation Leadership Style - Included within this class of theories are Burns and Bass’s transformation theory. Transformation leadership is a style of leadership where the leader is charged with identifying the needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of the group. It focuses on developing mutual trust, fostering the leadership abilities of others, and setting goals that cause followers to optimize their performance.
James MacGregor Burns (1978), Transformation leadership theory. This concept was initially introduced by James MacGregor Burns. According to Burns, the transforming approach creates significant change in the life of people and organizations.Through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals.
Bernard M. Bass (1985), Transformational leadership theory – Bass expanded upon Burns original ideas. His theory identifies four aspects of effective leadership, which include Inspirational MotivationIdealized Influence, Intellectual Stimulation, and Individualized Consideration. A leader who exhibits these qualities will inspire subordinates to put the long-term interest of the organization ahead of their own short-term interest.

 2. People

  • How do I understand and respond to different perspectives? – The Change Curve and The 3 Types of Individual attitudes towards change.
  • How do I help my team through change? – Training & Coaching, Reward & Recognition.
Most employees resist change due to job insecurity, mistrust of management, increased workload and fewer opportunities for advancement. Leaders must show commitment yes, to the change initiative but above all to the people who are affected by change. This requires relationship building thus leaders must display authenticity, integrity, empathy and humility in their approach. Change and influence are inextricably linked. Influence is about gaining not only compliance but also the commitment necessary to successfully drive change.
Having an understanding of your team’s personality dimension will provide you with additional insight on how best to guide the transition.
 The Three Types of Individual Attitudes towards Change
Regulators - They fail to see any positive outcomes and keep challenging the process of change. They value habits and complacency. They do not want to step out of their comfort zone so look for every opportunity to blame and criticize. They secretly harbour fear of the unknown. They have a hard time in coming to terms with the change as they always revert to and compare the present with the past. They would require more training and focus groups to discuss their concerns.
Conformers – They are interested but not totally convinced, therefore would need persuasion. They want to see what’s in it for them. They rely on information and can swing on either side. Hence, more emphasis needs to be placed on these marginal constituents to get them actively involved in the change process. Eventually when the change is implemented they go along with it, “just because it’s policy.”
Transformers– Otherwise known as the experimenters, the free spirited – they openly welcome and champion the change, always eagerly providing suggestions and feedback. They quickly embrace the principle of “out with the old, in with the new” and easily adapt to the new environment.
The goal is to develop a powerful change agents network - It’s important to get the right people in place who are fully committed to the change initiative and have the power influence to drive the change effort at all levels.

"Acceptance makes an incredible fertile soil for the seeds of change."~Steve Maraboli

The Change Curve Model by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969) describes the four stages most people go through as they adjust to change. It is a popular model which is widely used in business and change management  to understand the stages of personal transition and organizational change. With knowledge of the Change Curve, you can plan how you'll minimize the negative impact of the change and help people adapt more quickly to it.
Stage 1 Status Quo - When a change is first introduced, people's initial reaction may be shock or denial. They react to the challenge to the status quo.
Stage 2 Disruption - They may display fear or anger; and actively resist the changes. The organization experiences disruption which, if not carefully managed, can quickly spiral into chaos.    
Stage 3 Exploration - They begin testing and exploring the changes mean and eventually resistance give way to acceptance.                                           
Stage 4 Rebuilding - They embrace the change. They are committed to rebuild the new ways of working. Only when people get to this stage can the organization really start to reap the benefits of change.
Training & Coaching - Assess training needs driven by the change. By comparing existing skills and competencies with the skills you want people to have, you can make an informed decision about the type of training each person or team needs and provide the necessary training and remove obstacles to empower people. Train, coach and mentor personnel where necessary and invite continued involvement in the processes. Listen to the concerns of those close to the front lines as their insights and experience are critical to execution and success. Training should be properly structured and not rushed. This should build confidence around the change effort. Encourage your employees to think of new ways of doing things.
Reward and Recognition should be present in every leader’s DNA. It should be something they are passionate and sincere about. If leaders are to promote and sustain positive behavioral change a simultaneous change in the Performance Management process must be accompanied. If you want to get results you need to have the behaviors to get results, and rewards and incentives are reinforcers of behaviors.
Without positive reinforcement in the midst of change, engagement and employee morale are at risk. For organizational success, it’s critical for employees to execute on strategic objectives promptly. You also want to retain top talent and also your employees to stay engaged during the transition period so that productivity does not take a plunge. It’s important to tailor rewards or motivational tools to ensure they resonate with the target audience.
Younger generations like the millennials can have vastly different reward systems than Gen Xers or baby boomers.  Recognition is also one of the most important rewards employees can receive. Focus on creating a culture of recognition. Leaders should always be on the look out to spot good behaviors and be quick to openly praise the recipient of these.

3. Organization

  • How do I lead change in context of the larger organizational culture?Impact Analysis and 5 Step Process for smooth transition
  • What should be done to ensure change is sustainable? Adoption of Change Framework – (Lewin’s Change Model)
Poor planning and inconsistent execution of change initiatives can stop a company in its tracks
Impact Analysis – It’s important to brainstorm the major areas affected by the decision change, and then formulate:
  • The actions you'll need to take to manage or mitigate these consequences.   
  • The contingency strategy needed to manage the situation should the negative consequences arise.
Remember that few changes happen in isolation.

5 Step Process for smooth transition.

1. Access Organizations Goals – Once the project has been identified, turn your attention to developing goals in line with the desired future state. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.

2. Gap Analysis - This is an important tool for determining what you need to do to meet the change objectives. Determine what steps need to be taken in order to move from the current state to the desired future state. If your organization does not have the structure in place to support the people you will be driving the organization trying to delivery results requiring lots of extra effort and it will be a very slow process.

3. Create the Plan - A step by step plan should be created - By working through the steps with your team, you’re building joint ownership and commitment that will help you to drive the change. Let them be a part of that process so that they also feel some ownership over the change and the path to get there. Allow for flexibility: the plan should not be clad in iron. Listen to everyone carefully and welcome feedback.

4. Implement the Plan - This process can be lengthy and almost certainly will not happen in a matter of just a few days. It will take time for people to feel comfortable and start to act in ways that are supporting the change initiative. There may be some confusion at this point though with a properly structured approach to the change this can be managed well. Create short term wins and celebrate success.

5. Monitoring and Evaluation- This is where you verify the degree of adoption of the changed environment. Are employees doing what they’re supposed to be doing, or are they clinging to the old ways? How are we monitoring and measuring their progress? Feedback is important as this stage. It’s also essential that the Performance Management system should also be reviewed to confirm if it’s effective. The Change process must be intertwined with the performance management system to ensure sustainability.
Understanding which stage of growth the organization is at will drive the change strategy.
Organizations normally go through four main changes throughout their growth (Klepper, 1997): 
  1. Formative Period — This is when a new organization is just getting started. Although there is a founding vision there are no formal definitions.
  2. Rapid Growth Period — Direction and coordination are added to the organization to sustain growth and solidify gains
  3. Mature Period — The strong growth curve levels off to the overall pace of the economy.
  4. Declining Period — For many organizations it means down-sizing and reorganization. The goal is to get out of the old and into something new. Success in this period means that the four periods start over again.
Failure to follow-through with the needed changes in any of the four growth periods means the decline of an organization.

The Kurt Lewin Change Theory Model (1951) is very much a significant part of change management strategies for managing change in the 21st century. It is based around a 3-step process (Unfreeze-Change-Freeze) that provides a high-level approach to change. It gives a framework to implement a change effort. Kurt Lewin's model requires a process be in place that supports and maintains the changes.

 Lewin's Three Step Change Model Phases are:

Unfreeze: The first step in the process of changing behaviour is to unfreeze the existing situation. It involves reducing the restraining forces that are striving to maintain the status quo, and dismantling the current mind set.

Transition: The second step in the process of changing behaviour is movement. There may be a period of some confusion as the move from the old to the new way of doing things to the new. It will involve a transition period. In order to gain efficiency, people will have to take on new tasks and responsibilities, which entails a learning curve.

Freeze: The final stage is crystallizing and the adaptation of new standard as norm. Change will only reach its full effect if it’s made permanent so every effort must be made to cement it. The organization may revert to former ways of doing things at this point unless the changes are reinforced through freezing.
This model works whether the changes are strategic, reactive or pre-emptive.

“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. ~Anatole France

Change management doesn’t necessarily mean stability is out the door. For change to be effective stability and change must be held in proper balance to achieve total benefits.

Stability ensures the current business model is effective and efficient whilst change is focused on implementing the changes necessary to be more effective in the future.

The two must co-exist. The stability to change ratio depends on the people, organization and environment in which a business operates in.

 Today's business world is highly competitive and the global market place is constantly evolving. The winners and losers of this global competition are determined by one factor: change. Companies must learn how to embrace change and treat change management as a critical discipline. Change management is about people.

More emphasis should be given to the people who are responsible for adopting the new system to ensure the change initiative is successfully implemented. The easier you can make this journey for people, the sooner your organization will benefit, and the more likely you are to be succe

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