The term “change” has been commonly used in most organizations as a part of their operation. According to Axelrod (2000), it has different meanings in the concept of different people and it may range from a minor shift in work operation patterns to very large alterations in the organizations. Whenever a change is involved, it is important that the people’s perception and attitudes are taken into consideration and people carrying out the change process need to understand how other employees in the company will react to any minor or major alteration of operations. The most important part in leading change in an organization is to take sufficient time and effort to explain why it is necessary to have the change and also give other members of the company an opportunity to bring out their views (Axelrod, 2000).
According to Hal (2002), leading change therefore requires significant preparation and the people involved should know that they must be well prepared for the creation and maintenance of a working environment that will promote effective change and in turn ensuring that everybody in the company understands the change even if not all are supportive. The aim of this study is to come with suggestions that will assist the company’s consultant succeed in leading change in a particular area and the various methods that can be used to monitor the change process. The study also brings out the possible challenges that may arise as a result of bringing up change and the ways in which this can be measured to determine its success or failure.
Suggestions for leading change in a company
Where a firm’s consultant intends to create change in a particular department or area, there is a need to put into mind the following three points (Hal, 2002):
- The current position of the company.
- The place where the firm intends to get by introducing change.
- The means by which it is going to get to that point.
These help one come up with the basic scope to the change, the benefits that come with it as well as the risks that are involved. The consultant is also able to monitor the changing process from the inception stage to the final stages when it is fully implemented. According to Black (2002), the following are important recommendations that should be adapted to make the change process effective:
- Enhance communication with employees so that they get to understand it. People feel appreciated when they are made aware of all the plans that are taking place in the company and this way they are able to play a part in passing on the message to others and being supportive whenever necessary.
- Identify and motivate the key players in the process. Engage employees and look for ways of energizing them to act positively towards the process. Try to identify the motivating ways of making the employees be part of the process.
- Understand the limits of the change. Since not the entire organization requires change at a particular time, it is important that territories are established while taking note of possible obstacles, information deficits, sections’ common concerns and those options that provide valuable returns.
- Focus on accelerating the process through the various groups. It is always important to focus on the end result that is intended and not to rely on past failures.
- Adapt well to bottlenecks and other obstacles. These are all part of the change process and they should not limit the company from moving forward.
With these recommendations in place, the change process becomes progressive and the consultant is able to focus on accomplishing the entire change process.
Possible resistance to change
Normally, resistance to change does not come from within alone but also from the outside, either through the existing leadership or from the unfavorable business environment (Black, 2002). The firm’s consultants ought to focus on the goals that they intend to accomplish from leading the change and should therefore identify ways of staying strong and confident even with the pressures and at the same time be able to make other members of the process stay focused as well.
Black (2002) notes that, proper leadership is key to making change effective and where there is poor leadership, it is likely that even the employees will not co-operate to make change a success. On the other hand, the external environment may limit a company from effecting change and this requires to be taken into consideration before coming up with a change strategy. Some of the resistances to change that lead to its failure include (Hal, 2002):
- Failing to effectively involve employees in the process. This may end up resulting in their resistance to whatever processes will be carried out.
- Poor understanding of what the change really means. Where the management or the employees do not understand what change actually is, there may be possibility that the process may fail. Change is not only a simple alteration but it normally involves detailed procedures that may require a number of structural re-alignment.
- Ineffective implementation: Implementing change is something that needs to be carried out with great expertise and when this is ignored, the change process may not be a success.
Methods for monitoring and implementing change in a company
To come up with an effective change process that can easily be monitored, the following steps may be followed (Axelrod, 2000):
- Identify an appropriate and well-defined direction. This includes seeking employees’ opinions and hence creating a driving case for change.
- Establish clear leadership and responsibility, ensuring every party involved works actively towards accomplishing the intended goals.
- Create an effective communication channel to monitor the progress and identify whatever barriers that arise.
- Create a realistic and workable change plan for the entire process.
- Be ready to incorporate new approaches that come in to make the change plan flexible.
Measuring success or failure
Communication is very important in measuring the change process (Hal, 2002). It is important that person leading the change creates an effective communication channel with the groups involved in order to identify whether the change is effective or not. On the other hand, it is important that timescales are set in the plan so that the leaders may know the duration that a particular process takes and hence be able to identify when progress is being made and when they are locked up in bottlenecks (Hal, 2002).
In summary, it can be noted that the process of change in a company is not a simple process as most people take it. It is something that requires proper planning and whose implications must be taken into consideration. Any consultant involved in the changing process should understand that it requires involving other people in the company who will be supportive and who will be focused on ensuring its success. Monitoring the progress step by step also helps the consultants be in a position to identify any barriers that may arise and hence determine whether they are moving towards success or failure.
- Axelrod, R. Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations: California; Berette-Koehler Publishers, 2000.
- Black, J and Hal, B. Leading Strategic Change: New Jersey; Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002.