In order to effectively understand organizational change and change management techniques, it is essential for practitioners to be familiar with accepted principles and theories regarding change. By understanding the theoretical and application oriented approaches to organizational change and change management, practitioners will be more effective at tailoring a strategic approach that is complementary to the “new” organizational changes and strategy.
This provides practitioners to learn more about organizational change and change management, but to link theory with creation of effective strategy that will help increase the probability of effective performance to achieve specific strategic initiatives involved. Therefore, the remainder of this post will discuss organizational change and a couple of change management principles.
Organizational change is the process of replacing a current system or way of doing things within an organization. The change requires acceptance, implementation, and maintenance. Depending on the specific circumstances and objectives, the organizational change may require minimal, incremental, or radical change. Although there may be different types of proposed changes, there still is the need for familiarity and understanding about change management principles, and how these principles may tie into the creation of an effective integration preparation plan.
Change Management Principles
Change happens all of the time within organizations. The stages of change include: birth, growth, development, decline, and death.. There may be minimal, incremental, and/or radical changes that may come into play. In order for effective change management to actually happen there needs to be a cohesive understanding about areas within the “new” organization that will be changing and how those changes may ultimately influence or deviate from the current situation. This research and analysis of the current systems within the organizations is also referred to as the Diagnostic Principle of Change Management . What this means is that practitioners need to be aware of similarities and differences the present and proposed situation. This could ultimately influence the viability of change and performance. Having this understanding will provide practitioners with opportunities to tailor the right approach to create a change management strategy that will help to actually make the proposed changes happen.
Building upon the Diagnostic Principle is understanding the different stages of change. This is especially the case for practitioners because it reminds practitioners that every action regarding current and proposed change is somewhere within the change cycle, and that the actions designed to change the current system, must include the right amount of “force” to change the current system. This change management principle is known as the Quasi-Stationary Equilibrium of Multiple Forces designed by Dr. Kurt Lewin. The reasoning behind this theory is that because there is always some level of change happening within any system in an organization, it is essential to understand what forces, such as activities, are occurring that keep that system up and running.
Change Management Phases
The information about forces influencing organizational change should be identified, analyzed, and evaluated. This information will provide practitioners with specific indicators where there are minimal, incremental, or significant differences between the present and proposed organizational aspects that would be impacted by the change. The evaluation of how these areas are currently used and what changes may need to occur is paramount to change preparation. After the actual diagnosis, evaluation, and creation of the “new” proposed forces that will be implemented to move from the current way of doing things is the process of actually pull together a plan that addresses the preparation. The preparation of implementation should focus on the three specific phases of change that must occur in order for change to actually to shape: unfreezing, implementing, and refreezing stages.
One of the most difficult phases of change management is the initial unfreezing stage.. The principle behind the unfreezing stage is that it requires some sort of motivation or reasoning about why the current system should be replaced with another. Basically, practitioners need to create a level of discomfort about the current system(s) that need to change and the reasoning behind those changes. To do this, practitioners will need to show how the current system(s) are not fully conducive to the “new” organizational strategies . Keep in mind, that every organization change is going to be different. so within these two areas, the changes may be minute, subtle, or radical. Depending of the actual proposed changes, the approach to “unfreezing” the current system(s) may be different.
Whatever the case is in regards to level or type of change that must occur, it is essential that practitioners create and communicate the reasoning behind why the current system is not helping to achieve full organizational capabilities It is essential that communication is respectful to the current systems and participants. This illustrates the urgency of moving forward with better systems that are in better alignment with the “new” organization as recommended by Dr. John Kotter. Doing so may help practitioners build a case behind the reasons for the proposed changes. That being said, stay tuned for Part 2: Establishing a Buy-In for Strategic Change Initiatives that hits home on best practices for building enthusiasm, not resistance to organizational change. For more information or to discuss change management practices, certainly feel free to reach out.
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC