Leadership - ChangeManagers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. - Warren Bennis, Ph.D. "On Becoming a Leader"
Why Change?Today's business world is highly competitive. The way to survive is to reshape to the needs of a rapidly changing world. Resistance to change is a dead-end street...for you and the organization. Customers are not only demanding excellent service, they are also demanding more. If you do not supply it, your competitors will. Organizations are reshaping themselves to change quickly in order to meet the needs of their customers. The organization's top leaders know they cannot throw money at every problem, they need highly committed and flexible workers. As a leader, you need to emphasize action to make the change as quickly and smoothly as possible. Resistance is futile, as the Borg from Star Trek like to put it.
Organizations go through four main changes throughout their growth:
|The Japanese have a term called "kaizen" which means continual improvement. This is a never ending quest to do better. And you do better by changing. Standing still allows your competitors to get ahead of you.||
Change AcceptanceThroughout these periods of changes, which is just about all the time for a good organization, leaders must concentrate on having their people go from change avoidance to change acceptance. There are five steps accompanying change: (1)
Leaders can help the change process by changing their employees' attitude from avoidance into acceptance. This is accomplished by changing their employees' avoidance questions and statements into acceptance questions:
Of course it was not the change in lighting itself that caused the
higher output, but rather an intervening variable. This variable was
diagnosed as the employee's attitudes. That is, when you
introduce change, each employee's personal history and
social situation at work will produce a different attitude towards
that change. You cannot see or measure attitudes, but what you can see
and measure is the response towards that change:
In the factory workers case, productivity rose because they were being observed. This is known as the Hawthorne Effect (named after the factory where the research took place). It means that the mere observation of a group tends to change it.
Although each person will have a different response to change
(personal history), they often show their attachment to the group
(social situation at work) by joining in a uniform response to the
change. For example, one person's personal history might be so strong
that she works harder when a change is introduced, while the rest of the
group's social situation is strong enough that they threaten to strike
because of the change. Although each person in that group might want to
something different, such as place more demands, ignore the change, work
harder, etc.; the need of being in a group sways the many individuals to
follow a few individuals - "we are all in this together." Sometimes the
response towards change is influenced mostly by personal history,
sometimes it is swayed mostly by the social situation, as John Donne
(1571 - 1631) stated so elegantly in his poem:
|Martin Luther King did not say, "I have a very good plan," he shouted, "I have a dream!" You must provide passion and a strong sense of purpose of the change. (3)||
Leading the ChangeFeelings are contagious. When someone around you is feeling blue, it brings you down somewhat. Likewise, when someone is passionate about something, it inspires you. Build the change so that others want to be part of it. When you give them part of it, also give them the authority and control to act upon it. Share the power so that they do not feel powerless. You want them to feel useful and enthusiastic. Make them feel needed, that the change could not happen without them!
References1. Conner, Daryl. Managing at the Speed of Change "Resistance to Change Model." New York: Random House. He based his model on Death and Dying by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Return
4. Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York: Harper & Row.
Big Dog's Leadership Page
|Copyright 1997 by Donald Clark
Created May 11, 1997. Last update - January 16, 2002.
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