“Change management is a style of management that aims to encourage organizations and individuals to deal effectively with the changes taking place in their work”. (Change-management-coach.com, 2014)
On a daily basis, as individuals, the rate of change outpaces our ability to keep up with it. In every environment, most especially the work place, change management is of the utmost importance as certain changes when implemented result in an organization making progress.
When plans are in motion to manage change, some basic principles should be considered:
- People react differently to change: There are people who prefer things to remain as they are, because this shows stability and certainty to an extent. Other people are interested in new developments. Problems could arise either way, a stability oriented individual will not be comfortable with rapid change; a change oriented individual can have problems with the fact that nothing is changing.
- Change more often than not, involves a loss
- The fundamental needs of everyone needs to be met: When reacting to change, people want to be in control, they also feel the need to be included in the change process. If these aren’t met in the process, it could lead to a resistance.
- Fear of the outcome should be dealt with
- The expectations of staff/people should be managed realistically: Leaders should not make promises that the y cannot keep, the expectations of people should be kept at a realistic level (TeamTechnology 2014)
While considering the principles listed, leaders or bosses should endeavor to give out information and be honest about the situation. In cases where a large group of people have to be addressed, it is advised that a communication strategy be put into place to ensure everyone is addressed at the same time as this well help avoid misinterpretation of the information, and also avoid information getting lost along the way. If as a result of change, a loss occurs, an alternative to replace the loss will make it easier for people to cope.
In the 1950’s, a psychologist named Kurt Lewin came up with a change management model, which is referred to as “Lewin’s Change Management Model”, he says there are three stages of change:
- Unfreeze: This is the first stage which serves as a wake up call to people, informing and preparing them to accept the change that is about to occur. Unfreezing is intended to strengthen the forces advocating for change; it could also weaken the defenses of those who want things to stay the same. (Normadin, 2012)
- Transition: Bearing in mind that change is not a thing that is instant, it is a process, which is why Lewin has called this stage a “transition”, whilst changes are made, transition occurs. New strategies are developed to ensure the progress of an organization; ideally this should also have an effect on the behavior of employees; a positive effect. (Connelly, 2014)
- Refreeze: This is where changes have been implemented, accepted and are now permanent. Stability is back in the organization and the changes become a norm. (Connelly, 2014)
Having looked at the three stages of change according to Lewin, I’ve come to understand that there will be some employees who are averse to change due to a host of reasons such as:
- Fear of the unknown
- Loss of job
- Poor Communication strategy
- Lack of reward
- Bad timing
- Peer pressure
- Lack of trust and support (Adenle, 2011)
Below is a video on some more reasons why employees resist change
Source: (Youtube.com 2014)
The suggested ways to manage resistance to change are to:
- Own the changes: This means it is the responsibility of the leader to implement change.
- Get over it: Sharing thoughts and ideas that may not get chosen as the preferred decision as superiors may choose a different direction. Though this can be a put off, it is your duty to make the preferred decision work.
- No biased support allowed: Whether you are in support or opposition of the direction change is taking, once the direction has been chosen, full support should be given.
- Communicate the change: Effectively communicate with the staff, explaining why a change is needed.
- Help employees understand what they stand to gain if they along with the change process.
- Listen to the employees: Engage in conversations with employees also let them air their views.
- Create a feedback and improvement loop. (Heathfield, 2014)
It is not easy to go through change processes, although there are various models to explain the best ways to go about implementing change, the best ways to manage resistance to change; I would advice that in all of this the change process should be very well thought out, or else it will fail. Organizations should incorporate strategic change processes to ensure it goes on smoothly.
List of References
Adenle, C. (2011) 12 Reasons Why Employees Resist Change in the Workplace. [Online] Available at: http://catherinescareercorner.com/2011/07/26/12-reasons-why-employees-resist-change-in-the-workplace/ [Accessed 21 Jun. 2014]
Change-management-coach.com, (2014). Definition of Change Management. [Online] Available at: http://www.change-management-coach.com/definition-of-change-management.html [Accessed 21 Jun. 2014]
Connelly, M. (2014) The Kurt Lewin Model of Change. [Online] Available at: http://www.change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin.html
Heathfield, S. (2014). How to Manage Resistance to Change in the Workplace. [Online] Available at: http://humanresources.about.com/od/resistancetochange/a/how-to-reduce-resistance-to-change.htm [Accessed 21 Jun. 2014]
Normandin, B. (2012). Three Types of Change Management Models. [Online] The Fast Track. Available at: http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2012/08/28/three-types-of-change-management-models/ [Accessed 22 Jun. 2014]
Teamtechnology.co.uk, (2014) Change Management – Five key points for leaders. [Online] Available at: http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/changemanagement2.html [Accessed 21 Jun. 2014]
www.cscollege.gov.sg, (2014). Organisation Development for Leaders. [Online] Available at: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Pages/Organisation-Development-for-Leaders.aspx [Accessed 22 Jun. 2014]
YouTube, (2014). 10 top reasons why people resist change, [Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzCF_TWFyy0 [Accessed 22 Jun. 2014]