The Inevitability Of Change

 


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Change is inevitable and it will happen with your help or without it. You may be a traditional person who likes life as it is. But your life has changed all around you since your childhood and it will continue to do so for you, your children and theirs. Of course, you don't have to like it and you can even resist it but you will not stop it. To be an effective manager you must try to understand change and use the benefits to your and the company's benefit. You have a greater problem than most other people do because you have to overcome your own natural resistance to change and convince the people that work for you too. Factors which affect our attitude to change

Overcoming the fear of change

The biggest problem with effecting change is the fear that it creates.

  • Feeling too old to learn new techniques or technology

  • Changes in relationships in the working team

  • Fear on being embarrassed in front of others

  • Fear of losing promotion opportunities or even their own job

    Personal sense of security

    Worries about security caused by mortgage, marriage, divorce, debts, all make people more liable to resist change because any new situation feels less secure than the known situation.

    Habit

    If someone has grown up and lived with a lot of change they accept change as normal. There will be more resistance from someone who has done the same job and lived in the same place for a long time.

    Social and cultural beliefs

    These will be related to a particular community, class, trade or even work-group where historically they have been the victims of change rather than the beneficiaries.

    Past experiences

    The world is full of horror stories about the effects of change. Many people have suffered as a result and do not relish going through it all again.

    Reducing Resistance

    Change management is a relatively new management concept and it is a complex subject but the following tips will help. Remember that most of your changes will affect you directly but many will have indirect effects on your group. Let's look at two ways that you can adopt to reduce the negative effects of change.

    Be strong and confident

    This easy to say, isn't it? Many of the new things that we are going to adopt will feel strange and you may be embarrassed or nervous to try them for the first time. Remember the first time you dived into a swimming pool? Just do it. The next time will be easy.

    Empathize

    Do you remember this word from a previous module? It means putting yourself in the other person's situation and try to anticipate his concerns. Then you act to inform him or reassure him or whatever is necessary. Major change needs far more consideration and actions.

    MAJOR CHANGES

    TAKE THE HARD DECISIONS QUICKLY - If change means that people need to be moved or even dismissed then do it as quickly and humanely as you can.

    REASSURE THE REST - Once the hard decisions have been made then reassure the rest that they are an important part of the future. Remove the fear.

    INFORM - Keep people informed about what is going on. You may not be able to tell them everything but tell them what you can. If you don't inform them then the grapevine will.

    INVOLVE - If people feel that they have an involvement in the planned change (part ownership) then they will usually respond positively. If it has been imposed on them then they will have less commitment to making it work.

    SELL BENEFITS - If participants see the benefits of change as a way of reducing their problems and not of increasing them then you will be supported.

    A change strategy is very likely to fail if management:

  • Fail to consider people and the threat to their roles and positions
  • Fail to consider the difficulty people have in changing their ways
  • Fail to provide effective training so that the new skills can be learned and accepted
  • Fail to define the results expected
  • Fail to monitor the change and provide guidance as needed

    Chris Thomas is the author of the Managers Toolbox training material located at http://www.managers-toolbox.com and runs the very successful Basic Management Course for new leaders and supervisors.

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