Change Management

Manila Bulletin, January 25, 2010 | Go to article overview

Change Management


The on-going economic downturn has forced well-meaning managers to realize that to be successful in a highly volatile economic and business environment, they must continually adapt and change in line with the dictates of the market. Organization change, however, is not as easy as it sounds and is often wrought with stress and most often, result to damaging scars affecting the very core of the organization – its people. A top corporation in the Philippines implemented a new business operating model with the objective of being more responsive to its customers. The change entailed creating business units accountable for its total performance. With it, a major corporate restructuring program was instituted to improve its business process and increase productivity. A result of the business process change was the substantial reduction in its workforce through redundancy and outsourcing. In less than two years, the organization was back to its original size with the same inefficiencies it originally envisioned to eliminate.Unfortunately, the change process did not go through a methodical process of planning and implementation. It was a case of having superb objectives but poor execution. Here are some suggestions on how to successfully go through the process change smoothly and help you pull it off with as less pain as possible.Create the burning platform. This is the starting point in any change process. It provides the motive for change to be effected smoothly. Without it, no change process can be successful. Any change must have a catalyst, something that would make it compelling for the people to adopt the necessity of change. The burning platform must be one that has something to do with the fundamental interest of the people – survival and continued employment. The question of ‘What’s in it for me?’ must be satisfactorily answered for it creates ownership of the change program.In many organizations, the burning platform is usually something that threatens the existence of the company and accordingly, the employment of its people. It is a question of survival, matter of urgency. In my example, the burning platform was a new competitor stealing market share through a price war strategy, eroding the profitability of the company. Since the establishment of the company, it enjoyed the enviable position of market control, giving it the luxury of being able to charge monopolistic pricing. Because of this, the company became fat. However, a high price market scenario almost always attracts competitors. With the entry of competition, prices dropped by almost 60% squeezing profit margins.Communicate the plan, purpose and the end state and involve them in the process. There is no such thing as over communicating. 60% of the time spent on the change process involves preparing a detailed change plan. The plan must cover the change, its objective and purpose, the people who will be affected, a communications plan which will include the end state of the change, a counseling program, a training program and a rewards plan. It is always worthwhile for management to spend a great deal of time discussing these issues.People not only want to understand but also to participate in the what, the when, the how and the why of the change. They must have a stake in the process. By nature, individuals want to feel that they are in control and the only way for them to do this is to be involved at every stage of the process.They must understand the end state of the change process so that they can align their personal objectives with that of the organization. …

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