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Dynamics of Change

PART I. 

 

The process of organizational transformations is too complex to lend itself to a set of regimented steps that are rigidly adhered to every time change is attempted. Each change situation is a unique blend of environmental possibilities and constraints, corporate culture, and individual skills. The number of variables these factors generate makes it impossible to establish rules of organi­zational change management—the term connotes a fixed sequence of events that should occur whenever change is initiated. Experi­ence has taught us that altering the course of a large corporation is a complex task, and rigid rules do not incorporate the level of sophistication that is required. This distinction is important because change is a process that unfolds at many different levels simultaneously, not a discrete event that occurs by linear progres­sion.

Major change within an organization, therefore, cannot be con­trolled; it can be guided and influenced. Results cannot be guaranteed. With proper investment in diagnosis, planning, and skills building, however, it is possible to increase significantly the likelihood of achieving the desired outcome.

Workshops will help you identify the multitude of variables that can be relevant in a change effort, assess the matrix relationship these interdependent variables have with one other, spot information critical to the success of a particular change project, develop the implementation architecture to address the problems and oppor­tunities diagnosed, and demonstrate the organizational and inter­personal skills necessary to carry out the implementation plan.

If this sounds as if it is more than you bargained for, you may now understand why many organizations prefer to use the spray and pray approach to change implementation, rather than go through the substantial effort necessary to learn and apply a more comprehensive process.

Fast, simplistic solutions are particularly attractive in turbulent, uncertain times because we all inherently long for an uncompli­cated way to resolve the feeling that we have lost control. This workshop offers no such illusions or easy way out.

The reality is that our world has become more complex than in the past, and so our efforts to manage must become more sophisticated. Those who will succeed in the future will be the ones who accept this challenge and prepare themselves for navigating the transitions that are to come.

Understanding the Dynamics of Change

What is change? Human beings are control-oriented. We feel the most competent, confident and comfortable when our expectations of control, stability and predictability are being met. Change occurs when this balance shifts and expectations are disrupted.

Status Quo = Expectations Being Met Change = Disruption of Expectations

The disruption of our expectations produces many feelings, that may include: feelings of incompetence, discomfort, low self-con­fidence, high stress, anxiety, and fear.

Our ability to assimilate change is needed when we adjust to a disruption in our lives. Assimilating change involves not only the effort necessary to deal with what is causing the change (i.e., the computer, the reorganization, the new job) but also the short- and long-term implications of the change (e.g., new skills must be learned, new relationships formed, new expectations established). Change is occurring with greater speed, volume, and complexity in the world, our workplace, and our homes at an ever increasing rate. All of which is contributing to an increasingly turbulent environment. Future shock occurs when people can no longer absorb change without displaying dysfunctional behavior.

The winners know the solution to future shock. They know how to increase people's threshold for change and how to reduce their level of effort required to adapt to change. The rest of this paper will present the ten best practices that are common to the winners.


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