Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Section 3 Attitudes to Change

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General Attitude to Change

"...No one likes change, except, as the old joke goes, a baby with a wet diaper..."

Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

"...change creates fear in established organisations and paranoia in the minds of executives hired to protect the status quo..."

Gene Landrum as quoted by Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

In Australia

"After 5 years of turmoil, more than half the top 200 chief executives are gone"

Patrick Durkin et al, 2013

"...change means more effort. It means moving out of the comfort zone and overcoming the inertia that sets in with long-established ways of thinking and doing..."

Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

"'s funny, 100 percent of the people around here agree we need to change, but 90 percent of them don't really want to change themselves..."

Nobuyuki Idei, retiring CEO of Sony, as quoted by Brent Schlender, 2005

Faced with the need to change, our first tendency is to hang on to what we know by

doing the same but better or just working harder


Like driving a car and putting your foot down harder on the accelerator when you should instead change gears

A better approach is to understand what is causing the pressure to change. This is a way to take the lead, rather than being a follower or being dragged into the future

If you feel that no change is necessary, you are exhibiting the first sign of imminent extinction

Staying with what we know may be the most comfortable strategy in the short term, but in practice it is a high-risk strategy, and it is often helpful to view the status quo in this way

Usually change is seen as a threat unless staff have ownership of the change

During change, the ground rules move and this reduces trust. Trust can be one of the first casualties of a change process. Trust is based on 2 things . predictability and capability.

- predictability is knowing what to expect. Previously, in return for years of service and loyalty, staff could count on employment tenure and known career pathways. Now there are no guaranteed career paths or positions.

- capability used to be defined in terms of deliverables for individuals, and now it is more related to interdependency, ie teams.

NB Need to beware on the biggest barriers to trust, ie

"...mixed messages, broken commitments, and unpredictable, inconsistent behaviour..."

Jonathan Hughes et al, 2007

Change can send out conflicting messages. Employees are encouraged to realise their greatest aspirations but, at the same time, their basic needs like job safety and security are threatened

-Resistance to change is a "catch all" term used to describe anyone who does not change as fast as we desire. On the other hand

"...Resistance is the hump in the middle of the road that few leaders know how to get people over. Most managers think all they have to do is reward or threaten their people. Or they hope resistance will simply disappear once they have imposed change. These half measures are like putting on a clean shirt when what you really need is a shower..."

You need to get to the real cause of resistance. Remember: resistance is surprisingly resilient. Furthermore, resistance to change is personal.

Some indicators of resistance are resignations, transfers, absenteeism, lateness, lower levels of production, loss of quality, slowdowns, wildcat strikes, sullenness, and quarreling.


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