Change Management

A short essay to stimulate your thinking…

“The truth is that change is inherently messy. It is always complicated. It invariably involves a massive array of sharply conflicting demands.”

David Nadler
Champions of Change, 1998

Leading during change requires courage and compassion: the courage to recognize that change, however painful, is both essential and inevitable; the compassion to recognize that the pain must be acknowledged and minimized to the extent possible.

Far too often, management announces a significant change in purpose, policy, or procedure and expects every employee to embrace the change from day one. Managers fail to recognize that they and the employees will go through a grieving process which generally impedes, and can often derail, successful change. For positive institutional change to be created, you must understand that each manager and employee experiences a transition from what has been to what will be. In Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, William Bridges defines the stages of transitions:

  1. an ending, followed by
  2. a period of confusion and distress, leading to
  3. a new beginning.

In challenging economic times, every organization has a small group of people who are critical to its success — current and future. This is a time for shared goals and creative solutions, not individual priorities and business-as-usual. The preference for the comfort zone of the “silo” versus across-departmental initiatives will decrease nimbleness, weaken commitment to working through and accepting change, and inhibit positioning your organization to survive the current economy and thrive in the future.

If you would like to discuss managing change in your organization, please contact me.

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"People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!"
– Peter Senge
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