Organisational Change Management Volume 2


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. To establish an engaged and empowered staff, there first needs to be alignment (Ingredient 4)

. Two definitions of connectedness or engagement are

"...a personal state of authentic involvement, contribution and ownership..."

Karalyn Brown, 2005

"...the bond an individual experiences with another person, a group, or anything else that stirs feelings of attachment, loyalty, excitement, inspiration, comfort and our willingness to make sacrifices. Working on a connected team galvanises people in ways nothing else can..."

Edward Hallowell, 2011

. Handling change is linked with engagement/productivity, ie

"...The Reconstructing for Growth survey finds that in companies that manage change badly, 94% of employees are not engaged and 51% say productivity is suffering. However, in companies that manage the process well, only 40% of employees are not engaged and 3 percent say productivity is suffering..."

Fiona Smith, 2009g

"...sense of empowerment creates innovation and opportunity and enthusiasm..."

Grahame Petersen (CBA) as quoted by James Eyers, 2014

. Success at work expressed by satisfaction and engagement had been linked to influence of our lateral friendships at work. Most agree about the benefits of cordial relations between co-workers. The message to management is about creating a friendly working environment that encourages opportunities for informal meetings between colleagues and sharing of information. This is important as most people are spending more and more time at work and less time in outside groups, such as church or communities. On the other hand, there is more to engagement than friendship at work. Engagement involves leadership, management behaviours, organisational culture, rewards and recognition system, etc

. Furthermore, the relationship between management and staff needs to be friendly but not necessarily familiar. If management endeavours to become best friends with staff, there is the potential for problems and conflicts of loyalty, especially when making tough decisions about staff and their future. This situation is relevant in Australia as mateship is an important part of Australian culture. Remember:

"... employees respect leaders who make tough decisions but are honest and have a high degree of integrity rather than being best buddies with everyone..."

Mark Busine as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2007c

There is a need to maintain clear boundaries and role borders between management and their staff. Otherwise allegations of favouritism can be made. Managers need to have a trusting relationship with their staff, rather than being their friends.

. Sense of connectedness, such as career progression, work life balance and feeling of belonging to the organisation are more important than money. Usually people do not leave an organisation for money alone, the greater the sense of connectedness, the better the productivity and motivation. Staff do not work harder etc because of financial rewards, ie

"...employees who identify strongly with the organisation and their own work group have increased work satisfaction and lower turnover in jobs; they show increased reputation-building behaviour; they will defend the company's reputation in both formal and informal environments; and they will engage in corporate citizenship that typically goes unrewarded..."

Kate Reynolds as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2006f

. Humans are hard-wired to receive pleasure from co-operation, ie

"...MRI scans performed when the volunteers were cooperating together revealed a special pattern of brain activity in the region is linked to pleasure and reward, like the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens..."

Robert Winston, 2003


"...Besides which, we're all learnt, consciously or otherwise, as we grew up in this society that reciprocity leads to social cohesion - getting on better with everyone around you..."

Robert Winston, 2002

. In the organisational transition process there is a subtle choice that will set the tone of the transition:

Will it be authority-driven? Will the impetus and planning come from the energy of the original authors of the initiative alone ‐ charismatic, heroic leaders propelling the activities of others? or

Will the change effort be driven by widespread commitment, involving the aspirations and capabilities of the many people involved in it?

The former approach characterizes most change initiatives while the latter characterizes the strategies of leaders who appreciate the development of an organisation's learning capabilities. Change driven by authority is more efficient to organize, often more effective in the short run, and is most immediately comfortable for many people in many organisations. If all goes well, productivity and morale improve, ie people recognize that things are getting better. Despite this, the transition effort is powerful only as long as the authoritarian leader pushes it. If the situation changes, eg the leader leaves and/or loses interest, the initiatives begin to decelerate. In this situation, after a few failures or setbacks, the energy for transition can dissipate altogether.

On the other hand, if the initiative is driven by learning, there are repeated opportunities for individuals to design, initiate and implement actions themselves. This is what engagement is about. It builds commitment through connectedness and action, and draws in new people who share similar values and aspirations. This type of additional process becomes self-perpetuating, ie "virtuous reinforcing cycle". As this system is not dependent upon any particular person or a particular group of individuals, their loss has minimal impact on the transition.

. Smart organisations involve their staff in running their organisation

"...the idea that staff turn up for work, hang their brains near the front door, do a day's work and then pick their brains up on the way out, was abandoned long ago by most organisations. But getting the involvement of your people in running and improving the business beyond their normal day-to-day tasks is not always easy..."

Harry Onsman, 2004

. Many companies ask the wrong question:

"...what is the irreducible core that we need to turn on the lights in the morning and lock up the doors at night and still continue to be in business?..."

Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

A much more empowering and engaging question would be:

" can we change the way we do business so that the people we have are better able to contribute to organisational success?..."

. You will never, never, never have an engaged team unless the management is willing to share control

. To maximise engagement, there needs to be a high level of respect for management. A definition of engagement is

"...the extent to which workers identify with, are motivated by and are willing to go the extra mile for their employers..."

IRS (employee research firm) as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2004c

It is about behaviour; it is more than motivation, it involves the

"...long-term psychological connection between worker and the employer..."

Catherine Fox, 2004c

The more engaged employees are, the longer they stay in the job and productivity improves.

It is more than strong identification and pride in brand by the employee

. There is statistical evidence of a causal relationship between engagement and profitability, ie

"...Worldwide research by Hewitt shows that organisations who care about how people are treated at work, who go out of their way to create positive work experiences and who run their businesses with their people at the top of their mind, have far superior results. Their workforce records lower employee turnover and higher customer satisfaction levels. They also have strong leaders who now have to communicate a consistent set of promises for their people, a kind of internal branding......the message is around authenticity......about whether they are valued, and have a sense of confidence, and feeling they know where the business is going and they can see they have a future there: that's the leadership thing...."

Catherine Fox, 2007a

Image result for sylvia duckworth illusion of success
(source: Sylia Duckworth, 2017)

. Connectedness

- is all about letting go so that others can get going

- means that people have the confidence and the techniques to take responsibility

- is about employee involvement which means authorisation and power to act

- should not be regarded as being synonymous with management cop-out or abdication of responsibility

- means management listening, instead of talking, to employees

"...the best time to develop connections with the people you need to influence is before you need them..."

Annette Simmons, 2004

. For connectedness to work, management has to

- hold in high regard individual employees' capabilities

- persuade the organisation that they do hold in high regard individual employees' capabilities

. Linked with connectedness and engagement is participation. UK data (Chris Forde, et al, 2006) has demonstrated that

- participation does improve productivity

- threat to job security does not lift performance

- threat of unemployment or redundancy does not reduce productivity gains delivered by participation

"...The evidence suggests a very strong correlation between high levels of engagement and business performance, especially total shareholder return..."

David Brown has quoted by Mark Abernethy, 2007

. People who have a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to be positively engaged with their job (Edward Hallowell, 2011). Engagement improves performance and a sense of connectedness in the workplace leads to engagement.


. Happiness is

"...the feeling of peaceful, positive emotions and the absence of inner conflict..."

Martyn Newman, 2009

. As happy people feel better, they perform better. According to Martyn Newman(2009), happy people are more creative, solve problems better and more quickly, live longer and enjoy high levels of leadership influence.

. Happiness is a subjective state that can vary from person-to-person, eg some people are happiest with the peacefulness of nature, others when anticipating a long awaited event, others when experiencing the thrill of doing something meaningful for others, etc.

. Research has shown clear links between specific emotional skills and health, wealth and well-being. This investigation of happiness has highlighted

- external conditions and other general factors are less influential than first thought (they account for no more than 15% of factors contributing to happiness). For example, with money, once the essential needs are met, additional income contributes minimally to raising the level of happiness; education and/or IQ does not lead to greater happiness either. On the other hand, there is some evidence that people in relationships are happier. The evidence is very strong that people feel the happiest when with other people and especially when contributing to others. Giving, practising kindness, compassion and other virtues, etc make you feel good and create meaning in your life, ie a sense of purpose and connectedness to others

- there is some genetic predisposition for happiness,

"... genes influence such traits as having a positive easy-going personality, feeling well with stress, and feeling low levels of anxiety and depression..."

Martyn Newman, 2009

It is estimated that around 50 percent of our satisfaction comes from genetic programming.

- we have considerable influence on how we perceive our experiences etc. For example, a brain has a special circuitry for enjoyment, pleasure and euphoria. We can handle our negative feelings by directly awakening positive feelings. Furthermore, the adult brain continues to develop and change. Our thoughts and emotions can trigger these changes in the brain.

. Linked with happiness are 2 emotional intelligence skills:

- self-reliance (emotional power to accept responsibility; back our personal judgment; be self-reliant in planning and making decisions)

- self-confidence (have the courage to take the initiative despite social pressures; lack of ego; have a peacefulness that cannot be threatened by external circumstances or inner fears; use optimism as a strategy to handle challenges and sense opportunities; always see positives; resilience - able to bounce back from significant failures or losses and bitter disappointments; passionate - passionate people spend twice as much time thinking about what they have accomplished, how achievable the task ahead is and how capable they are of achieving it; know how to manage their reserves of emotional energy)

On the other hand, persistent frustration and negativity have clinically been proven to damage health.

. Happiness makes you feel more effective, helps maintain peace of mind and encourages positive relationships with others. At the same time, your brain is more effective, agile and creative.

. On the other hand, people mistake happiness for pleasure. For example, materialistic gains such as a new car, phone, games, etc are of short-term benefits and sometimes no real benefits at all.

. Furthermore, experiencing negative emotions is crucial for well-being and flourishing (functioning at an extraordinary high level in multiple domains). Focusing on happiness can result in rejection of negative emotions, such as regret, anxiety, sadness, etc that are important in developing resilience and beneficial to learning and performance. For example, suppression of regret can reduce that person's ability to learn from previous failures; anxiety can enhance performance particularly in intelligent people with anxious managers being more effective than composed managers; sad people learn information quicker and are more able to detect when someone is lying. On the other hand, it is suggested there is a need for balance, ie for every 1 negative emotion, you need to experience 3 positive ones (Fiona Smith, 2010f)

. Space and place issues can dictate happiness. Happiness studies are investigating ways that humans relate to places where they live, work and visit. People have an affinity with the environment and this is called eco-psychology. Environment can affect physical and mental health. It is claimed that exercising in nature has a more positive effect on happiness than exercising in the gym, and walkable communities create healthy populations. The way people move around areas, including who they meet on the way, are important in determining happiness.

"... it's about landscape, biodiversity, a sense of being connected to life. It includes vistas, the sounds of nature and human scale of the place that is in harmony with the landscape..."

Glen Albrecht as quoted by Deirde Macken, 2010

Some other findings include

"...- hospital patients who have a view of nature from their beds recover faster from surgery.

- mentally distressed people who are taken out into nature show improvements in their blood pressure and cortisol levels

- children who readily play in natural environments have cognitive development two years more advanced than those that don't

- primary school children who undergo nature-based programs show improvements in their concentration, communications with peers and cognitive ability

- children in drought-affected areas experience a tripling in emotional difficulties..."

Mardie Townsend as quoted by Deirde Macken, 2010a

Some questions to evaluate the impact of space and place include

- how do you interact with nature?

- how happy do you feel about the place where you live and work?

- are there changes in your environment that are causing you distress?


There is some evidence that colouring in pictures helps people relax. The act of colouring can change brain behaviour and help people achieve calm and balance. Tests showing
"...patients with "beta" brain wave frequencies - the time associated with physical or mental stress - can be switched to the more restful and positive "alpha" brainwave frequencies by colouring pictures..."
Peter Ker, 2015

This is similar to listening to music or watching your favourite TV program, ie you are not concentrating or focusing too much. It is a great way to de-stress and to clear your mind when you are distracted or need clarity

In mid-2015, one of the bestselling books on Amazon was Secret Garden (an adult's colouring book)

It has been described as a mindful, creative activity with no element of competition or failure.

It is estimated that our brain's current shape is around 150 million years old and operates as such. On the other hand, during the last few decades we have our work environment getting busier and technology changing the way we work, ie 24/7.

Research is showing a relationship between the number of thoughts in your head and how happy you are, ie the more thoughts that are in your head, the less happy you are; regardless of what those thoughts are. So by reducing your thoughts youré improving your happiness

(sources: Martyn Newman, 2009; Fiona Smith, 2010f; Deirde Macken, 2010a; Peter Ker, 2015)


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