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Five force of change

In the business world it seems that major organisational change is becoming ever more frequent. But human nature remains much the same people dont like change. In light of the complex management and human resource issues that arise at such times, the author Anthony Greenfield reveals his blueprint for leading successful change. Major organisational change sucks up time, energy and emotion. It threatens morale and all too often fails to deliver promised benefits. However, the world of work is shifting at such a mind-boggling rate that we have little choice but to continually change or risk being left behind. Information Technology continues to shrink the world and revolutionise the way organisations operate. In January 2008, there were 875 million internet shoppers worldwide; in 1993 there were none. Success is no longer a matter of being the fastest or the fittest, but rather is about being the most adaptable. Any enterprise that can introduce new ideas and new approaches frequently and effortlessly has a huge advantage. It is the role of a modern leader to make this possible. Whereas organisations may have little choice but to change, people do. Large-scale change requires people to invest a great deal of energy and emotion in getting to grips with new methods and in living with extended periods of uncertainty. At the heart of the matter is the way we experience and respond to change. We are reluctant to let go of familiar things in favour of novel and unproven ideas. We want to know where we are going and how we are going to get there, and when the ground begins to shift under our feet we lose confidence and find it hard to remain effective. On the flip-side, we are capable of amazing things. We love to rise to a challenge and derive enormous satisfaction from succeeding against the odds. We enjoy exploring new avenues, coming up with better ways of doing things and learning new skills. So our response to a given change varies dramatically depending on how we experience it and how we are led through it. The key to success is to work with the grain of human nature rather than against it. Like a master of martial arts, you must turn opposing forces to your advantage instead of meeting them head on. To do this, you need to understand and address the 5 Forces of Change forces that drive human behaviour and which come under threat during major organisational change: 1. Certainty. An immediate consequence of change is uncertainty. At worst, people fear for their jobs and at the very least they can become unclear about what the future holds and their role within it. This causes anxiety and a drop in performance. The antidote to uncertainty is trust, and the key ingredient of trust is communication. Openness about what is going on and why its going on builds trust, so too does treating people with the respect they deserve.

Dont hide things from them, least of all bad news; rather engage with them about why the change is vital so they can reach the same conclusions as you have. Remember also that the change begins with you nothing will kill a new initiative faster than a leader who lacks confidence in it. 2. Purpose. As an organisation changes course, things can become foggy. Peoples sense of direction is diminished and they become less confident about what they are doing. In turbulent times we look for leaders with a clear and unequivocal sense of purpose. Great leaders spell out an inspiring vision and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. At M&S, Sir Stuart Rose has set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2010. Whilst this is an enormous challenge, it is unambiguous and appeals to values that transcend day to day work, giving people a crystal clear purpose and a reason to persevere despite inevitable difficulties. 3. Control. Change can lead to strong feelings of unease as people sense that they have lost power over their working lives and become victims to outside forces. This can cause people to rebel against change or to quietly opt out of it. One such rebellion took place in September 2006 when mothers at a school in Rotherham fought back against the introduction of healthy meals (inspired by Jamie Olivers TV series Jamies School Dinners) by passing burger and chips to their kids through the school railings. In stark contrast to this, Jamie had been masterly at getting children on board at one school he worked with. He took a small group who steadfastly refused even to try healthy food and taught them to prepare healthy dishes with their own hands a crucial move in winning them over. No one complains about a meal they have cooked themselves. 4. Connection. We all form strong attachments to people and things. We identify ourselves with the job we do and the way we do it. We value our relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers. We become attached to our organisation, our team, or even our desk. When things change, we need to break these connections and form new ones. Merely exhorting people to join you in the new world is not enough. You need to celebrate the past its successes and failures and mourn its passing before people can let go of old practices and travel happily into the future. When two banks recently merged they threw a huge party to celebrate the demise of two old organisations and the birth of a new one. 5. Success. Anyone who has introduced change at work knows that performance often gets worse before it gets better. Just ask people who travelled through Terminal 5 at Heathrow when it opened! In uncertain times, when people already feel vulnerable, they find themselves grappling with new ways of working. No wonder there is a strong temptation to revert back to tried and trusted methods. To combat this problem, leaders must nurture success. They must spell out expectations and train people to succeed. But thats not the end of it. Crucially, they must support people as they put new methods into practice, especially those who find their performance gets worse before it gets better. Finally, it about celebrating each triumph and building up support to tip the balance in favour of change. By harnessing the 5 Forces of Change you can become one of those rare leaders who are able to bring about lasting organisational change with a minimum of fuss.

Source of individual resistance to change

Individual Resistance Individual sources of resistance to change reside in basic human characteristics such as perceptions, personalities, and needs. The following summarizes five reasons why individuals may resist change. HABIT As human beings, we're creatures of habit. Life is complex enough; we don't need to consider the full range of options for the hundreds of decisions we have to make every day. To cope with this complexity, we all rely on habits or programmed responses. But when confronted with change, this tendency to respond in our accustomed ways becomes a source of resistance. So when your department is moved to a new office building across town, it means you're likely to have to change many habits: waking up ten minutes earlier, taking a new set of streets to work, finding a new parking place, adjusting to the new office layout, developing a new lunchtime routine, and so on. SECURITY People with a high need for security are likely to resist change because it threatens their feeling of safety. When General Dynamics announces personnel cutbacks or Ford introduces new robotic equipment, many employees at these firms may fear that their jobs are in jeopardy. ECONOMIC FACTORS Another source of individual resistance is concern that changes will lower one's income. Changes in job tasks or established work routines also can arouse economic fears if people are concerned that they won't be able to perform the new tasks or routines to their previous standards, especially when pay is closely tied to productivity. FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN Changes substitute ambiguity and uncertainty for the known. If, for example, the introduction of word processors means that departmental secretaries will have to learn to operate these new pieces of equipment, some of the secretaries may fear that they will be unable to do so. They may, therefore, develop a negative attitude toward working with word processors or behave dysfunctionally if required to use them. SELECTIVE INFORMATION PROCESSING Individuals shape their world through their perceptions. Once they have created this world, it resists change. So individuals are guilty of selectively processing information in order to keep their perceptions intact. They hear what they want to hear. They ignore information that challenges the world that they've created. To return to the secretaries who are faced with the introduction of word processors, they may ignore the arguments that their bosses make in explaining why the new equipment has been purchased or the potential benefits that the change will provide them.

Source of organizational resistance to change


Organizational Resistance Organizations, by their very nature, are conservative. They actively resist change. You don't have to look far to see evidence of this phenomenon. Government agencies want to continue doing what they have been doing for years, whether the need for their service changes or remains the same. Organized religions are deeply entrenched in their history. Attempts to change church doctrine require great persistence and patience. Educational institutions, which exist to open minds and challenge established doctrine, are themselves extremely resistant to change. The majority of business firms, too, appear highly resistant to change. Six major sources of organizational resistance have been identified. STRUCTURAL INERTIA Organizations have built-in mechanisms to produce stability. For example, the selection process systematically selects certain people in and certain people out. Training and other socialization techniques reinforce specific role requirements and skills. Formalization provides job descriptions, rules, and procedures for employees to follow. The people who are hired into an organization are chosen for fit; they are then shaped and directed to behave in certain ways. When an organization is confronted with change, this structural inertia acts as a counterbalance to sustain stability. LIMITED FOCUS OF CHANGE Organizations are made up of a number of interdependent subsystems. You can't change one without affecting the others. For example, if management changes the technological processes without simultaneously modifying the organization's structure to match, the change in technology is not likely to be accepted. So limited changes in subsystems tend to get nullified by the larger system. GROUP INERTIA Even if individuals want to change their behavior, group norms may act as a constraint. An individual union member, for instance, may be willing to accept changes in his job suggested by management. But if union norms dictate resisting any unilateral change made by management, he's likely to resist THREAT TO EXPERTISE Changes in organizational patterns may threaten the expertise of specialized groups. The introduction of decentralized personal computers, which allow managers to gain access to information directly from a company's mainframe, is an example of a change that was strongly resisted by many information systems departments in the early 1980s. Why? Because decentralized end-user computing was a threat to the specialized skills held by those in the centralized information systems departments. THREAT TO ESTABLISHED POWER RELATIONSHIPS Any redistribution of decision-making authority can threaten long-established power relationships within the organization. The introduction of participative decision making or self-managed work teams is the kind of change that is often seen as threatening by supervisors and middle managers.

THREAT TO ESTABLISHED RESOURCE ALLOCATIONS Those groups in the organization that control sizable resources often see change as a threat. They tend to be content with the way things are. Will the change, for instance, mean a reduction in their budgets or a cut in their staff size? Those that most benefit from the current allocation of resources often feel threatened by changes that may affect future allocations.

Steps in Managing Planned Change A planned change is a change planned by the organization; it does not happen by itself. It is affected by the organization with the purpose of achieving something that might otherwise by unattainable or attainable with great difficulty. Through planned change, an organization can achieve its goals rapidly. The basic reasons for planned change are: To improve the means for satisfying economic needs of members To increase profitability To promote human work for human beings To contribute to individual satisfaction and social well being The planned organizational change process may comprise, basically the three following steps: Planning for change Assessing change forces Implementing the change 1. Planning for Change The first step in the process of change is to identify the need for change and the area of changes as to whether it is a strategic change, process oriented change or employee oriented change. This need for change can be identified either through internal or external factors. Once this need is identified the following general steps can be taken: Develop new goals and objectives. The manager must identify as to what new outcomes they wish to achieve. This may be modification of previous goals due to changed internal and external environment or it may be a new set of goals and objectives. Select an agent of change. The next step is that the management must decide as to who will initiate and oversee this change. One of the existing managers may be assigned this duty or even sometimes specialists and consultants can brought in from outside to suggest the various methods to bring in the change and monitor the change process. Diagnose the problem. The person who is appointed as the agent of the change will then gather all relevant data regarding the area of problem or the problem where the change is needed. This data should be critically analysed to pinpoint the key issues. Then the solutions can be focused on those key issues. Select Methodology. The next important step is to select a methodology for change; employees emotion must be taken into consideration when devising such methodology. Develop a plan. After devising the methodology, the next step will be to put together a plan as to what is to be done. For example, if the management wants to change the promotion

1. 2. 3.

policy, it must decide as to what type of employees will be affected by it, whether to change the policy for all the departments at once or to try it on a few selected departments first. Strategy for the implementation of the plan. In this stage, the management must decide on the when, where and how of the plan. This includes the right time of putting the plan to work, how the plan will be communicated to the employees in order to have the least resistance and how the implementation will be monitored. 2. Assessing Change Forces The planned change does not come automatically, rather there are many forces in individuals, groups and organization which resist such change. The change process will never be successful unless the cooperation of employees is ensured. Therefore, the management will have to create an environment in which change will be amicably accepted by people. If the management can overcome the resistance, change process will succeed. In a group process, there are always some forces who favour the change and some forces that are against the change. Thus, an equilibrium is established is maintained. Kurtlewin calls in the field of forces. Lewin assumes that in every situation there are both driving and restraining forces which influence any change that may occur. Driving forces are those forces which affect a situation by pushing in a particular direction. These forces tend to initiate the change and keep it going. Restraining forces act to restrain or decrease the driving forces. Equilibrium is reached when sum of the driving forces equals the sum of the restraining forces as shown in the following figure:

There may be three types of situations, as both driving and restraining forces are operating: 1. If the driving forces far out weight the restraining forces, management can push driving forces and overpower restraining forces.

2. If restraining forces are stronger than driving forces, management either gives up the change programme or it can pursue it by concentrating on driving forces and changing restraining forces into driving ones or immobilizing them. 3. If driving and restraining forces are fairly equal, management can push up driving forces and at the same time can convert or immobilize restraining forces. Thus, to make the people accept the changes, the management must push driving forces and convert or immobilize the restraining forces. 3. Implementing the Change Once the management is able to establish favourable conditions, the right timing and right channels of communication have been established the plan will be put into action. It may be in the form of simple announcement or it may require briefing sessions or in house seminars so as to gain acceptance of all the members and specify those who are going to be directly affected by the change. After the plan has been implemented there should be evaluation of the plan which comprises of comparing actual results to the objectives. Feedback will confirm if these goals are being met so that if there is any deviation between the goals and actual performance, corrective actions can be taken. Organizational Change Process (Lewins 3 Stage Model) Any organizational change whether introduced through a new structural design or new technology or new training programme, basically attempts make employees change their behaviour. Unless the behavioural patterns of the members change the change will have a little impact on the effectiveness of the organization. Behavioural changes are not expected to be brought about overnight. These are the most difficult and marathon exercises. A commonly accepted model for bringing about changes in people was suggested by KURT LEWIN in terms of three phases process:1. Unfreezing 2. Changing 3. Refreezing 1. Unfreezing Unfreezing means that old ideas and attitudes are set aside to give place to new ideas. It refers to making people aware that the present behaviour is inappropriate, irrelevant, inadequate and hence unsuitable for changing demands of the present situation. According to EDGAR SCHIEN the following four elements are necessary during this unfreezing phase: The physical removal of the individuals, being changed from their accustomed routines, sources of information and social relationships. The undermining and destruction of social support. Demeaning and humiliating experience to help individuals, being changed, to see their old attitudes or behaviour as unworthy and think to be motivated to change. The consistent linking of reward with willingness to change and of punishment with willingness to change. Unfreezing thus involves discarding the orthodox and conventional methods and introducing dynamic behaviour, most appropriate to the situation. People are made to accept new alternatives.

2. Changing Unlike unfreezing changing is not uprooting of the old ideas, rather the old ideas are gradually replaced by the new ideas and practices. In changing phase new learning occurs. The necessary requirement is that various alternatives of behaviour must be made available in order to fill the vacuum created by unfreezing phase. During the phase of changing, individuals learn to behave in new ways, the individuals are provided with alternatives out of which choose the best one. KELMAN explains changing phase in terms of the following elements: Compliance: it occurs when individuals are forced to change either by reward or by punishment. Internalisation: it occurs when individuals are forced to encounter a situation and calls for new behaviour. Identification: it occurs when individuals recognize one among various models provided in the environment that is most suitable to their personality. 3. Refreezing Refreezing is on the job practice. The old ideas are totally discarded and new ideas are totally accepted. Refreezing reinforced attitudes, skills and knowledge. He practices and experiments with the new method of behaviour and sees that it effectively blends with his other behavioural attitudes. FERSTER and SKINNER have in this connection introduced the main reinforcement schedules namely- Continuous and Intermittent reinforcements. Under continuous reinforcement individuals learn the new behaviour within no time. And intermittent reinforcement on the other hand, consumes a long time but it is has the greatest advantage of ensuring a long lasting change.