Change Management – Struggling to cope?

by Thomas on January 21, 2013 · 0 comments

Change Management

The everyday life of a company consists of change; be it change in work processes, supervisors, work conditions etc. Lots of changes can lead to insecurity and angst amongst team members. Employees feel misunderstood and become resistant. What’s essential for managers of change management is the ability to communicate with your employees.

The change management process can be defined according to the phases set out by social scientist Kurt Lewin:

  • Phase 1 – Unfreezing: In the first phase, you need to break traditions and behaviors. The resistance of employees must be broken down and positive forces of change must be built upon. You need to prepare the alterations beforehand.
  • Phase 2 – Moving: In the second phase, the organization needs to move towards the changed target. Together, you need to try new behavioral techniques and develop new structures.
  • Phase 3 – Refreezing: The third phase focuses on stabilizing the new behaviors and structures so that you don’t fall back into old habits.

During all three phases, you should be constantly running the following cycle in your head: acting, observing, reflecting.

  • Acting: A precondition of taking action is to define a target. Concrete action plans need to have specific tasks and sub-tasks laid out.
  • Observing: To improve the action, you must observe the relationship between what should be done and what is being done.
  • Reflection: Observations must be monitored. Only when a person compares their own observations with the observations of another, can the truth behind one’s observations be examined. The danger, however, is that a match of findings can be misinterpreted. Additionally, just because an observation has been confirmed, it does not mean that the action was appropriate. The action has to be weighed up against the achievement of objectives. Ask yourself; are you nearer to the objective, a variation of, or no relevant progress?

Avoid Change Management Pitfalls

Change management falls into the remit of managers. If the process of change is of a large scale, it would be advised to use internal or external consultants. Here are a few tips on what managers and employees should consider with change management.

  • Observe the precise location of your company’s operations within the current market
  • Look upon the changes as positive
  • As an employee, indicate possible changes to your supervisor
  • As a manager, take onboard the resistance and angst of your employees honestly, and inform them of implementing changes
  • The most important instrument of the change management process is communication (presentations, moderation, feedback, coaching and conflict management)

People are “creatures of habit” and are often skeptical of changes. Changes are usually associated with uncertainty in the future and can be perceived as threats and risks. A little tip: don’t change everything just because it’s old. But don’t place all your hopes on surviving on existing methods either. If you regularly scrutinize how existing procedures can be changed, you can become aware of how to achieve your objectives better and faster.

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