Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Section 9 - Answers to Pre-test

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(Self-Identification of Attitudes to Organisational Transition)






The word challenge needs to be defined because many managers don't like to be challenged. It consists of three steps: Give the manager your opinion, tell him/her why you think it's a mistake, and offer your recommendation. Obviously, it should be done in a tactful manner.



The word constantly may be a little strong but it emphasises that managers should do more than maintain the status quo until he says, "Change!"



Most managers will mark this item D because they read into it that the changes should be immediate and drastic. They also feel it implies "change for change's sake", even if things are OK as is. In other words, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!". It was not intended to imply that drastic changes should be made immediately. Rather, the rationale for "agree" is that all jobs can be improved. We can argue with success. As each person moves into a higher-level job, he or she should make changes that can improve productivity as well as morale.



This is one of the reasons for the answer to item 3.



They have first-hand knowledge of job problems and will probably have ideas for solving the problems as well as for doing the job in a more efficient manner.



The success of participative management teams (quality circles, and so on) has proved over and over again that practically everyone has ideas for improving the effectiveness of an organisation. Managers must give them the opportunity and encouragement to express these ideas freely.



Some organisations have been very successful with suggestion systems that pay for ideas that are used. They are able to generate many ideas they wouldn't have received without the system. This doesn't mean, however, that it is the only solution. Managers can also stimulate ideas by maintaining rapport with staff, encouraging suggestions, implementing and giving credit for those that are used, and explaining why others were not used. Employees will continue to offer suggestions to these managers, whether on an individual basis or through work teams.

A or D


The answer to this question depends to a large extent on the answer to item 9. The answer to both questions should be the same because they are closely related. If, for example, managers would not welcome ideas and suggestions, then it would be a waste of time to suggest them.

A or D


I trust you have the right answer for your organisation.



The difference between this question and item 9 is should versus would. Managers should welcome suggestions from all sources. They might not accept and use all of them, but they should encourage them.



The better answer is probably D because of the word "always". Whether to ask for approval each time depends on four principal factors: the size of the change, the cost, whether or not it will affect other departments, and the leadership style of the manager (especially senior manager) in regard to decision-making. If the style of the manager is that he/she makes all the decisions and staff simply recommend, the answer to this item is A. But in nearly all cases, staff are able to make minor changes without clearing them with the manager.

A or D


Either answer is correct, depending on other factors including the style of leadership of your manager (see item 11).

A or D


Same as 12.



This has been discussed in item 11.



This is important in order to let staff know when to initiate and when to go to the manager for approval.

A or D


In most cases the D/A answer is probably best because of possible mistakes that could be costly in terms of quantity, scrap or even accidents. It is probably best to have staff suggest ideas rather than to give them the authority to make changes on their own. There are cases, however, where capable and reliable staff should be given the freedom to act without first checking with the supervisor.



Managers can learn a lesson from sales people. If the customer says no, the sales person doesn't say "OK" and forget it. He or she usually plans another call and picks a better time, uses a different approach, or does something else that is different from the first try. The typical sales person calls on new customers an average of five times before making the first sale. Likewise, managers should not take no as a final answer if they feel their idea has merit.



Good decisions can fail because of the lack of acceptance on the part of those who must implement them. Employees who don't like a decision may resent it (an attitude) or resist it (an action). And they have usually learned how to do it in a subtle way so it isn't out-and-out sabotage. Rather, they will quietly see to it that it doesn't work out. One of the reasons participative management is so popular is because it not only provides practical ideas but also results in commitment on the part of those who helped make the decision.



This is the main reason for the D answer to item 18.



Although this approach is sometimes successful, there are two other approaches that will usually result in better decisions and stronger acceptance. The first approach is to get input from those involved from the very beginning. Their thoughts and suggestions should be carefully considered in making the final decision and also in getting the plan implemented. The second approach is for managers to make one or more tentative plans and get reactions from those involved. Managers who use the latter approach should be very careful that they don't become defensive when staff "attack" their plan and managers must be willing to change the plan if input from staff warrants. They must even be willing to throw out their plans and start over. If they defend their tentative plan, staff are apt to get the message that the manager has already decided and input from staff will not be considered. This will sever upward communication.

A or D


Yes, a manager can save time initially and be decisive without seeking input from staff. However, this may result in a decision that is resisted by them and doesn't work out, and much time will be needed in the future to overcome the resistance or change the decision.



Traditional approaches to problem-solving emphasised "get the facts", and managers were urged to differentiate between facts and opinions. Peter Drucker (1967) says that executives should encourage opinions. He states that if you ask for facts, you will only get those facts that fit the conclusion they have already reached. Therefore, opinions can help managers make the best decisions. Another reason for getting opinions is to build acceptance and even commitment on the part of those who have participated.



The word always is too strong. There are two ways to make decisions that include input from staff. One is to ask for opinions, facts, ideas, etc and reserve the authority to make the decision. The second approach is to use the group problem-solving approach in which the manager leads the staff to a group decision. There are advantages and disadvantages in each approach.



This is especially true if the decision is made by the group or if the manager uses their input in making the decision. It is also true if the staff feel that their input has been carefully considered, even if the decision is not what they suggested. In this situation, a manager must explain why their input was not used.



This answer simply means "not necessarily". Other alternative actions are to modify the decision or to gain acceptance by moving more slowly than planned.



Some managers object to the word apologise. They feel it is not a good idea to do this. They fail to realise that an apology usually gains respect when people know that a mistake has been made. Many managers who agree with the statement find it difficult to do because pride is involved. An apology can, in fact, be an empowering strategy.



The word never, of course, makes this a disagree item. There are times when it is a good idea to retract it and apologise as described in item 26. If you still think the decision is a good one, then it is best to try to persuade those who resist of its merit.



One foreman who answered "disagree" had this reason: "We shouldn't encourage them to quit; we ought to fire them!". Perhaps this is good advice as a last resort, but the first approach is to determine the reason for the negative attitude and try to change it.



Usually this approach will backfire and other employees will resent what the manager did to one of their co-workers but this approach may be best if the person is an obvious troublemaker who is trying to see how far he/she can go in challenging the authority of the manager. In this situation, other employees will probably support the action.



It makes little difference who decides on a change if it is going to have a negative effect, such as personal loss to employees.



One of the most difficult decisions for a manager is the timing of the announcement of a change. If it will have a positive effect, it should be done at a time to get maximum benefit. If it will have a negative effect on employees, the timing depends on the rapport that has been developed between the manager and staff. If employees will be upset and damage equipment or take similar action, it is best to wait until the last minute. However, if employees will appreciate the fact that the manager told them in advance so they could adjust to it, then it should be communicated earlier. The key word is practicable, which means that various factors should be considered.



A manager - and the entire organisation - should build a reputation for communicating to employees when decisions are made. The exception would be the situation described in the answer to item 31 in which employees would take destructive action.



It is important to communicate the "why" as well as the "what" and "when" of such a change. A company should build a reputation for doing this, even if the decision will not be popular.



As suggested in previous statements, honesty is the best policy and the impact of the change should be explained. If it comes as a surprise later on, the employees will be more upset than if they had been forewarned.



This ties in with item 34. If people are going to lose jobs, the company should not only inform them of the reasons for the change but also do whatever is possible to find jobs for those who will be terminated. This will build positive attitudes on the part of all employees, whether terminated or not.



By definition, a "natural leader" is a person to whom other employees look for advice and counsel. If this person is sold on the change, it will help to gain acceptance from others.

A or D


There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. When the group approach is used, everyone gets the same story at the same time. There is no suspicion regarding what the manager tells each employee, and no opportunity for the grapevine to operate. This can be risky if there is enough resistance to stir up the whole crowd. The individual approach has the advantage of tailoring the explanation to each person as the manager can explain the benefits to each person. Also, it is probably easier to get comments and questions from each individual. The disadvantage is the suspicion that different people are told different stories and the grapevine will pick up the information and pass it around before some employees hear it first-hand. In either case, it is a good idea to be sure that the natural leader is in favour of the change.



Logic and reasons for a change might not turn resistance into acceptance if the individual is going to lose something in the process.



This is related to item 38. If people fear they will lose something by the change, their feelings and emotions will be strong. Logical explanation will usually be ineffectual in changing resistance to acceptance.



This is similar to item 30. If employees are going to lose something by the change, the conditions under which it is introduced will probably have no effect.



The key factor is whether people will gain or lose from the change. People who will gain money, security, status, authority, or better working conditions won't be very concerned with the reasons for the change. They will be primarily motivated by how it will affect them.



Some new offices are smaller, less private, and less comfortable than old offices.



Sometimes, new equipment will take an effort to learn to operate, will be more difficult to use, and will create a feeling of insecurity on the part of the employee.



Some people simply don't want more responsibility - either because they are happy with what they are doing or because they are afraid they will not be able to handle extra responsibility.



Some of the things they fear are loss of job, money, status, authority, responsibility, visibility and a feeling of achievement.



Acceptance can be a matter of timing. If, for example, a change that creates problems is presented to a person who is already having problems, it will be resisted. On the other hand, if a change that will save money is presented when a person is under pressure to cut expenses, it will be welcomed.



This is one of the most important principles and one of the three keys to managing change. Empathy for those involved is necessary in order to know what changes to make and how best to implement them.



Not necessarily. The speed with which it is introduced should be related to the amount of resistance. If everyone is in favour of it, don't wait. If, however, resistance is high, it should be introduced slowly.

A or D


It depends on the credibility and rapport that managers have established in the organisation.



Sometimes changes are decided on without getting input from staff. Sometimes input is obtained and considered before making a decision to change. In either case, input in implementing the change is a good idea because of the high degree of acceptance it will elicit.

(Source: Donald Kirkpatrick, 1985)

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