Managing Change

Managing Change

These principles and practices help with the practical management of change.

1) Change is often threatening to people.

This threat can often be reduced by

  • Giving people time to adjust
  • Listening to their concerns and feelings
  • Explaining the reasons for the change
  • Sharing your feelings about the change

2) The sense of threat is greater when people feel they have no control

Therefore it helps to

  • Consult people before the change
  • Consult and involve people in the carrying out of the change
  • Give them at least one fixed point to hang onto
  • Try not to have too many changes happening at once

3) People will respond better to change when they feel cared for and valued

Most will feel valued if we

  • Listen to their cares and concerns
  • Respond flexibly to help with those issues, if appropriate
  • Ask them for their ideas about how to make the change work
  • Answer their (searching or challenging) questions honestly and openly

4) Change is easier to manage and cope with if it is orderly

Therefore it helps to

  • Have a strategy for all the changes and how they mesh with each other
  • Give information on the effectiveness of the change process to the change managers so that necessary adjustments can be made
  • Increase liaison with colleagues at the same level so you can learn from each other

5) Change management often requires people to influence others either ‘upwards’ or ‘across’.

Influencing without authority requires:

  • Creating sufficient trust that they are prepared to be open with you
  • Understanding the position of other people on change issues
  • Making proposals that people want to say ‘yes’ to

6) Managing change is stressful for those managing it

However, it helps to

  • Acknowledge that coping with uncertainty and others’ emotional reactions is stressful to yourself and the organisation.
  • Make it permissible to talk about the stress of change in the organisation
  • Talk about your experiences and feelings openly

7) The process of change can be helped by

  • Increasing the amount of support in the organisation
  • Increasing the amount and openness of communication about the change
  • Improving people’s understanding of change and their ability to help each other.

8) Learning about how to manage change is helped by

  • Creating a shared understanding of all the changes and how they interact
  • Creating a shared vision of where you want to get to with clear priorities on the way
  • Getting the balance between thinking and doing right
  • Reflecting together on successes and failures and discovering what leads to success

9) The central skills in change management are

  • Understanding people’s needs and feelings throughout the organisation
  • Making positive proposals, taking well-calculated risks
  • Learning actively from experience

If you would like help using this idea, or have any comments or questions please contact me. Thanks, Nick