Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Implementing Change

This was posted on Ambie's Blog on Tuesday 24 February 2009.

Change is the most live thing happening in the world. Every passing second is change, but yet humans find difficult to accept visible changes. We tend to hide changes in physique due to aging with beauty therapies, hair dye etc. When it comes to change in some thing we do in life, personal or professional, we tend to avoid change and to the possible extent we tend to evade change.

This is because of the psychological effect to remain with status quo and the fear of the change having in store something unpleasant. Unless change is forced on us by forces of the market or of the nature, we have some suggestions from experts on how to implement change and manage it.

Good or bad change has resistance. People are so mentally intertwined with status quo that they detest change when it is inevitable, but live with it as TINA factor plays a major role. The transformation process will be successful, when the organization goes through a step-by-step process of change. Real change happens when the change in practices, structures, and strategies and vision are implanted in the changed culture.

To successfully implement change we need to plan the change. A meticulous plan with every detail covered with the goal in mind has to be prepared. In the planning process, opinions and ideas shall be asked for from everyone involved. This would be a welcome move as people would be open to improvements and more willing to advise others than taking suggestions. With all the ideas, we need to carefully consider them and get a consolidated frame work. This frame work is known as a plan.

With this plan, devise a strategy to implement it. A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Unless we're implementing military strategy, highest secrecy is not required. So, we need to give the people involved a brief idea about the goal. Tell them the ways and means we're about to follow. Welcome ideas and suggestions, as we've always time and space for improvement, unless we've a closed mindset.

We have psychologists to affirm that people change their mind-sets only when they see the purpose of changing. How to make/help them see the purpose of change? How to get our vision visible to others involved in the changes we're planning to make? The only way out is communication. Communication is an important factor that favorably contributes to successful implementation of change. US President Barak Obama is the latest example of successful communicator advocating change, who took people in his stride.
(We can also get some elite Gentlemen to the list Lee Kwan Yew, Deng Xiao Ping, Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca, Loius V.Gerstner Jr. who showed us how to successfully implement change and have it sustained.)

Communication is two-way and helps the change process to move on smoothly. Unless the initiator of change is able to communicate effectively his/her ideas, we cannot guarantee success. We need to change the beliefs that influence specific behaviors. For that we have to be witty enough to communicate to people, answer their questions, reason out with them on the need for change. If a change is forced, people would either resist that by making mistakes and blaming them on change, or would quietly walk away from the organization, but both would end up in a messed up end result.

If the change is implemented successfully, there ends the job? NO. The implemented change has to be sustained. It is not enough you stand you must stay in the business, so adaptations to the changed culture needs to be done. Adaptions are also changes of small nature. Is this a never ending process? YES. That's why the adage goes, change alone is constant. How to live up to it?
Change the organizational culture to get going with adaptations and be open to changes of any magnitude.

How to do it? Let us summarize whatever we thought in the previous paragraphs. Conceive an idea and vision for change. Plan it. Get a good strategy to implement it. Communicate the goal and need for change. Take people along. Implement change. Stay awake to time to time adaptations. This is the way to sustainable success.

Should the heading be "Cultivating sustainable success"? I'm open to thoughts from everywhere. Let us think for good change!

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