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Managing Change
 

Introduction

These notes outline some principles and practices that have been found to help with the practical management of change.

1) Change is often threatening to people.

This threat can often be reduced by

  • Giving people time to adjust
  • Listening to their concerns and feelings
  • Explaining the reasons for the change
  • Sharing your feelings about the change

2) The sense of threat is greater when people feel they have no control

Therefore it helps to

  • Consult people before the change
  • Consult and involve people in the carrying out of the change
  • Give them at least one fixed point to hang onto
  • Try not to have too many changes happening at once

3) People will respond better to change when they feel cared for and valued

Most will feel valued if we

  • Listen to their cares and concerns
  • Respond flexibly to help with those issues, if appropriate
  • Ask them for their ideas about making the change work
  • Answer their (searching or difficult) questions honestly and openly 

4) Change is easier to manage and cope with if it is orderly

Therefore it helps to

  • Have a strategy for all the changes and how they mesh with each other
  • Give information on the effectiveness of the change process to the change managers so that necessary adjustments can be made
  • Increase liaison with colleagues at the same level so you can learn from each other

5) Change management often requires people to influence others either 'upwards' or 'across'.

Influencing without authority requires:

  • Creating sufficient trust that they are prepared to be open with you
  • Understanding the position of other people on change issues
  • Making proposals they want to say 'yes' to

6) Managing change is stressful to those managing it

However, it helps to

  • Acknowledge to yourself and the organisation that it is stressful coping with the uncertainty and others emotional reactions
  • Make it permissible to talk about the stress of change in the organisation
  • Talk about your experiences and feelings openly

7) The process of change can be helped by

  • Increasing the amount of support in the organisation
  • Increasing the amount and openness of communication about the change
  • Increasing people's understanding of change and their ability to help each other with it.

8) Learning about how to manage change is helped by

  • Creating shared understanding of all the changes and how they interact
  • Creating a shared vision of where you want to get to with clear priorities on the way
  • Getting the balance between thinking and doing right
  • Reflecting together on successes and failures and discovering what leads to success 

9) The central skills in change management are

  • Understanding people's needs and feelings throughout the organisation
  • Making positive proposals, taking well-calculated risks
  • Learning actively from experience 

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I am entirely happy for you to use or draw on any these materials in any way you think will be helpful. I am keen to have my work, and the work of the people I have learned from, used.  

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The language on this site is correct UK English throughout. There are differences in spelling and meaning between UK and US English. The context should make the material understandable in the US.

Further Information

There are free articles, exercises, designs, book references and links to other sources about many aspects of personal, team, management and organisation development on this website. I will add other resources as I learn what you want.

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