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
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
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.