Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Change has Negative Vibes

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Usually "change" is the code word or euphemism for something nasty like drastic re-structuring, re-organisation, down-sizing, pay cuts, retrenchments and increasing workload.

It is not often considered as being about opening up new opportunities but about paying for past managers' mistakes.

It pushes people outside a familiar "zone of comfort" to a place where they are frightened

Participants are not in control of what is happening ie no control, no ownership, no commitment and no responsibility.

WIIFM (what's in it for me or management) attitude or perceptions (ie do the personal benefits exceed the cost?) This is most important for those staff members who have apparently a lot to lose from the change.

Will staff be able to handle the requirements of the new organisation that will result from the change?

Change can and does create conflict and chaos. An organisation in "chaos" is terrifying for traditional managers, ie everything seems to be out of control, the traditional manager is outside his/her " zone of comfort", and needs to change his/her mindset from

"...I've got to stay in control...


... accepting ambiguities and adversity..."

Personnel often have experience of a failed change effort.

Sometimes the change is rushed, and as a result it takes years to build a committed, loyal and creative workforce that is not driven by fear.

The past is not treated with respect. By denigrating the past, the resistance against the change can be consolidated, as staff will identify with the way things used to be, especially if they were involved in it. Need to build on the past, not deny it.

Generally managers are not good at handling the human aspect of change:

- managers fail to realise that the mishandling of the negative aspects of change tends to reinforce and perpetuate those negative aspects.

- usually the negative aspects of change are unfairly dismissed as mere "resistance to change", ie something that unfortunate people indulge in and they must eventually overcome.

The organisation lacks internal alignment, ie common focus.

'say yes but do no', ie people pay lip service to change by agreeing to everything that is said but behave as though nothing has changed.

NB In the current context, the manager has become the probable victim of change rather than the perpetrator, and this situation is giving managers an opportunity to learn about the human response to change.


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