Capabilities required to successfully lead change in orgnisations

During the past decade change has become a key issue for everyone and one in which grows in importance and complexity each year. Change affect all of us in many different ways, it can be minor, significant, catastrophic or sometimes in between.

               The ubiquity of change has long been acknowledged, (Engles 1959 : 82) noted "nothing remains what , where and as it was, but everything moves, changes , comes in to being and passes away". According to Whitehead(1925 :179) change is inherent "in the very nature of things".In simple terms we can describe change as making or becoming different ,it is about transformation , about moving from one current state of being to a new, different or modified state.

               Change is an integral part for the survival of an organisation.

It is something which all the organisations have to accept within this developing world. For example assume a car manufacture produces the same car for more than 20 years or organizations use only the manual operating systems or banks operate without ATM facility, Can we expect that particular organisation to be profitable, or is it possible to attract more customers. The answer is no. the world is changing rapidly , and customers always think about their convenience when dealing with transaction. Therefore change is an essential component of the business world. The organisations constantly need to adapt to the ongoing trends in the market if they are to be successful.

There are lot of theories and models designed by many experts to deal with this scenario. Of them I would be focusing on "Scale/Style of change" model by Dunphy and Stace ( 1996) to discuss about the capabilities need to lead change in organisations.

In Australia, during the early 1990 Dexter Dunphy and Dough State introduced a new model of organisational change. This model was based on two dimensions. First the scale of change, seen to lie along a continuum from small to large scale, and second the style of leadership required to bring about change. This key criteria has been so effective to bring out change in lot of organisations. The scale range from fine tuning and incremental adjustment to Modular transformation and corporate transformation. Fine Tuning refers to small scale changes ranging from refining and clarification of existing procedures through to the actual adjustment of Organisational structures. For example, most business are changing all the time in all kinds of ways, including refining policies, developing people, adjusting processes and so on. This is relatively easy and is often done without needing separate improvement or change projects.

               Incremental adjustment Slightly larger than fine tuning, incremental adjustment to the organization can include correcting faulty processes, changing business emphasis, reallocating staff and so on. This takes more work and has a greater risk of going wrong and so is more likely to use local improvement projects, where people take time out of their day work to engage in study of the situation and design of appropriate solutions. Companies that do this often have internal facilitators who are trained up in the methods of improvement and techniques of facilitating teams.

               Modular transformation refers to large scale changes from divisional restructuring to revolutionary change through out the whole organisation. This structure is more likely to use external support from consultants, and organizational psychologists.

Corporate transformation is larger again and involves major change that affects the whole company. Such levels of change may appearing mergers or acquisitions, where entire management layers may be swept away, departments combined and so on. Another case is where a company has stagnated and seeks to transform itself for the modern age and new markets.Powerbattles, that may certainly appear at lower levels, escalate to a new level as directors fight for their jobs, let alone the opportunity to build new empires .A full change of this style may be many months in the preparation and take years to stabilize into normal working. It is expensive and is likely to require consultant and specialist support for a long period.

               Furthermore Dunphy and Stace's ( 1996) theory also speaks about the sort of leadership styles needed in order to bring out change in organisations. The basic styles which he describe in this model is Collaborative, Consultative, Directive, Coercive. Using these dimensions

Dunphy and Stace identify four types of change strategies. Participative evolution , forced evolution, charismatic transformation and dictatorial transformation. Participative evolution refers to incremental change through collaboration and force evolution refers to directive change. Charismatic transformation is a large scale discontinuous change achieved by collaboration. Dictatorial transformation refers to major coercive change program.

Dunphy and Stace argue that the model provides a framework for planned change strategies that challenges the personal value preferences of managers and consultants. They suggest that appropriate change strategies are generally determined by the change agent and not by the needs of the organisation. For example , they point out that organisational development practitioners have tended to focus on collaborative models, whereas corporate strategy consultants have tended to dictatorial transformation as appropriate strategy for managing large scale discontinuous change. So we can see how different strategies could influence change in organisations. Even though there is a place for each strategy, the choice should be made on the basis of dominant contingencies.

One of the most important issues when dealing with organisation change is the behaviour of people. Just as the nature of change varies, so do the human responses and reactions to it. Some people seem confused and confounded by change and unpredictability, and do their best to avoid it. Others find the prospect of uncertainty invigorating, often seeking out situations that promise opportunities for new adventures and exploration. You can see this difference in how people experience things in the way two people will describe the same event. What is exciting to one may be a major crisis to another.

While people may feel differently about change in general, when it comes to change in the workplace, research shows that most people are open to it -- an astounding 78 percent in fact. That's according to research of more than 5,000 mid-to-upper level managers. Often the discussion on change revolves around simplistic ideologies that label some people as "pro-change" and others as "change resistors." Predictably, the pro-change forces are seen as good and the resistors as the evil enemies of progress. The problem with this thinking is that the people who frame these arguments have their own unique attitudes, beliefs and preferences about change. The fact that the pro-change person may lead his/her organization into a disaster or that the resistor may present very reasonable objections is often overlooked. In other words, personal change styles are often confused with change competency.

Research indicates that people have different habits and preferences when faced with change. If you can recognize these differences in yourself and others, and address them when communicating and implementing change, you are much more likely to face fewer misunderstandings, complaints and saboteurs along the way.

There are many theories about how to manage change. Many come from change management guru, John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School. Kotter introduced his eight-step change process in his book "leading Change" (1995). the eight steps which he brought out was " Establish a sense of urgency", "Form a Powerful Coalition", "Create a Vision for Change", "Communicate the Vision", "Remove Obstacles", "Create Short-term Wins", "Build on the change", "Anchor the Changes in Corporate culture".

In the book " Meeting the Challenge of Change" Sharon Jhonson(2001) describes some management skills which are really essential in today's world to create change within the organisations. he speaks about Analytical thinking where he speaks about that change managers need to be able to scrutinise change processes, quantify financial impacts, effectively administer change- modelling practises. He says good change management cannot be achieved by ' gut feel' or through hunches. A good change management program should be able to offer systematic, scientific evidence to support the change. Sharon also focus on organising skills as a good leadership quality to lead change he says good organiser can draw together disjointed components of the business to produce an outcome.

Business skills also a integral part to lead change. Change managers need to understand how the business works, what it takes to survive, how to read financial statements and what the market is doing. Political skills also vital as workplace operate under the same social constraints as any other gathering of people. Unfortunately there will be social hierarchies, power plays, gossiping, winners and losers. Successful change managers should not play politics but they do need to understand and cope effectively with the politics of the organisation. And as I mentioned before, People skills also takes a important place.

Source: ChinaStones -

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