Jim Rohn sagely said, “Nothing changes until we change.” Change Management is a familiar concept, but requiring deeper understanding.
How a leader, people, institution — manages it — matters a lot. It depends on the nature of business, the change itself, and the people involved in the process.
The ability to surge to the stage abuts on how people caught up within this situation perceive the change process.
Ideally, in 1940, Kurt Lewin advanced a marvelous model for understanding Organizational Change.
Heretofore, the model is relevant.
He hinged it on three-stage change process: Unfreeze — change — refreeze.
Kurt Lewin, a top-flight physicist-cum-social scientist, explained Organizational Change using the analogy of changing the shape of a block of ice.
He postulated, if you have a large cube of ice, and realize that what you want is a cone of ice, what do you do?
First, you must melt it: to make it amenable to change — Unfreeze.
Then, you must mold the iced water into the shape you want — Change. Finally, you solidify the new shape — Refreeze.
Actually, as a manager, looking at change as a process with separate stages, can help you prepare for what is in the offing, hence manage to have a plain plan to accept transition.
Somewhat, some leaders plunge into change while blind like bats. Yet, they should avoid that because it can cause chaos and confusion.
So, to conceptualize the change process, understand that it is inevitable.
You should have the morale and motivation before the actual change occurs.
Re-examine many cherished assumptions and old beliefs.
This is the first stage in Change Management.
It is where the leader prepares teammates to embrace change.
This can only work if there is willingness to break from status quo.
Then, build up a new way of operation.
It is important to start by communicating change. It has to be gradual. Ostensibly, when it happens rapidly and radically, without smart involvement of relevant stakeholders, resistance can impede the speed.
Therefore, when injecting change, legendary leaders focus on evolution instead of revolution. You change and challenge — old beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviour — in piecemeal.
In actual sense, the first part of change process is usually tough. When you start cutting down the ‘way things are done’, it upsets the apple cart.
It evokes strong reactions, which is the exact thing that should happen.
As an astute administrator, when you join an institution, you may believe that a new broom sweeps clean. Conversely, the old folks you find there may boldly tell you:
But old brooms know all the corners.
Consequently, compelling people to re-examine the way they have been doing things, you clearly create (controlled) conflict.
This in turn builds a strong motivation to seek out a new equilibrium. Without this spark of motivation, the manager may experience paucity or scarcity of steadfast support.
As a legendary leader, for you to access success, determine what ought to change. Survey the organization so that you have a good grasp of the current state.
Ensure that you have solicited adequate support from various stakeholders.
Create the need for change.
Preach and teach about it. Apprise them why change is necessary.
Use your vision as supporting evidence. Communicate the vision.
As Habakkuk puts it:, Write the vision on the table that those who read it can run with it. Habakkuk 2:2-3
At the change stage, people begin to resolve their uncertainties. They begin to adjust, adapt and advance. They commence to look for new ways of doing things. People start to believe and act in ways that support the new direction.
Prominent proponents of change must admit that it does not happen just in a jiffy. People take time to embrace new way of doing things. Naturally, people try to resist change with every atom of their strength. Arguably, they fear to beat new paths.
Therefore, to make people in an institution to accept change, and contribute to making it successful, make them know how they will reap bountiful benefits.
Meaning, as a leader, it is utterly wrong to think that everyone will support change because it is necessary, or because it will increase activity and spur productivity.
This is a common myth that those in puissant positions should shun like a plague.
Some people will genuinely be shell-shocked by change, particularly those who benefit strongly from status quo.
Others may take a long time to recognise the bountiful benefits that come with it.
As a leader, you need to see this from far. Use bright-insight to manage it right.
Time and communication are of essence.
People need plenty of scope to understand change.
Then, they need to feel highly connected to the organisation throughout the transition period.
Moreover, Management of Change requires joint effort.
Hands-on management is usually an awesome approach to employ in case you yearn to manage change.
As a leader, talk about it through writings and speeches.
Convene meetings. Organise capacity building sessions for staff.
Do so in the entire planning process and monitor its impressive implementation.
As a scribe, I can say in this essay, describe benefits of change.
Have an in-depth explanation of how change will help people. Then, prepare them for what is coming.
Involve people in the process. Generate short-term wins to reinforce change. Rely on energy, synergy and strategy.
At this stage, change is taking shape and people have embraced new ways of working.
People are into it. Refreeze stage also needs people, and the organisation to internalise or institutionalise significant changes.
In a school setup, this is when there is a new sense of stability.
Various stakeholders feel comfortable with change.
So, as a leader, entrench changes on culture. Identify what can support it.
See barriers in advance. Develop wonderful ways to sustain and implement it.
© Victor Ochieng’
The writer rolls out leadership talks and training programmes.
He speaks in conferences convened for Principals and Deputy Principals.
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