Dynamics of Change



The winners deliberately enable sponsors, change agents, change targets and advocates to work as a synergistic team. Prerequisites to synergistic teams are (1) a common goal and (2) the requirement of interdependence to achieve that goal. Management must rec­ognize and acknowledge that interdependence.

Synergistic organizations have sufficient resources to enable them to react to change sooner, more effectively, and without depleting the recourses needed to maintain normal levels of productivity and performance. Synergistic relationships are not without problems. Control and focus are required to channel the increased resources resulting from efficient teamwork.

The winners do not view resistance as an unexplainable force that mysteriously affects people. They do view resistance to the change objectives as a natural and understandable human reaction to disruption brought on by the change.

There are a number of implementation barriers, some blatant, some subtle, that can inhibit the successful execution of a change and which can quickly thwart even the most sincere efforts. A few examples of some of the more common ones are:

• When the corporate vision or specific business strategies are unclear, there may be confusion over how the changes should be interpreted.

• When an organization has a history of poorly implemented strategic plans, the members of that organization may expect little substance when more new changes are announced.

• Middle managers may lack any feeling of the ownership and involvement necessary for enthusiastic support of change.

• If managers and supervisors do not understand or believe in the change themselves they will not be effective change agents or supportive sponsors.

• Punishing errors and rewarding the absence of mistakes promotes an environment of low risk-taking in which "nothing ventured, nothing gained" is more vice than virtue.

• When there is an absence of positive or negative consequences for complying with a change objective, the targets of that change may ignore new directives.

• When resistance surfaces, it may be denied or suppressed. When overt resistance is not acknowledged and managed, it goes underground, resulting in such covert activity as slow­downs, malicious compliance, or even outright sabotage.


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