Managing Change

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”

Artist: Andy Warhol

Nothing stays the same. Managing change has become the norm in all walks of life. In this fast-paced, unpredictable world, not only is change inevitable, it’s happening more quickly than ever before. Not only do we have to deal with personal changes, we also have broader issues to deal with such as the global economy, the domestic economy (job loss, company closures), the environment, technology, and changing cultural values. As challenging and difficult as it may be, and as resistant we are to it, we have to learn to manage change.

From a business perspective, change is something that affects most of us. Organisations need to change regularly but it’s often hard to do so: People dislike insecurity; stable routines and habits tend to cause a sense of inertia and a resistance to change is natural for some people.

John Kotter is an internationally known speaker who introduced the 8-step change model for helping managers deal with transformational change:

  1. Create a sense of urgency: reinforce the importance of acting immediately.
  2. Build a guiding coalition: this will bring the right people together to take a constructive approach.
  3. Form the right vision: link the vision with clear strategies so employees know how to achieve their goals.
  4. Communicate the vision: this will create support and an acceptance among employees.
  5. Remove barriers: enable action and remove obstacles that could undermine the vision.
  6. Generate short-term wins: to track process and energise the team.
  7. Sustain acceleration and consolidate improvements: monitor the change; multiple successes shows it has worked.
  8. Institute change: make sure the successes have become strong enough to replace old habits – values and standards must marry up with the new vision.

Managing change can be a stressful activity but if you can make it work it will add real value to the company and yourself!

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