This article throws light upon the seven main steps taken by managers in the management of change in an organisation. The steps are: 1. Perceive a Situation for Change 2. Analyse the Existing Situation 3. Prepare a Plan for Change 4. Try the Plan 5. Overcome Resistance to Change 6. Implement the Change 7. Monitor or Review the Change.
Step # 1. Perceive a Situation for Change:
Every organisation has objectives framed for the organisation, departments and divisions. To achieve these objectives, managers should perform better than competitors and to do so, they constantly need to scan the external environment, find threats and opportunities, link them with organisation’s strengths and weaknesses (that is, carry out a SWOT analysis), review their policies and performance periodically (monthly, quarterly or half-yearly) and, if required, modify the organisation structure and policies.
The first step in the management of change, therefore, is to feel the need for change, which is defined by the organisation’s desire to move from the existing situation (or equilibrium) to the desired situation (or equilibrium).
Step # 2. Analyse the Existing Situation:
It analyses the gap between the existing situation and the desired situation. The desire to reach a new state of equilibrium requires analysis of the existing goals, structure, technology and people. This is done by conducting a gap analysis, that is, gap between the current state and the desired state.
Gap between what an organisation has and what it wants to achieve is filled by making the most desired changes in its structure, technology or people. A careful analysis of the existing structure and its comparison with the planned situation helps in identifying the type of change to be made (structural, technological or people).
A well-conceived plan for making a change does not produce resistance. Instead, it is supported by the members with a positive approach towards change. If the organisation is reporting low sales, the problem may be with the sales staff and not the product or the organisation design. Changes, therefore, have to be brought in people. It is very important to know the element to be changed otherwise, change may prove to be very costly.
Step # 3. Prepare a Plan for Change:
When managers feel the need for change, they prepare a plan for initiating the change. The kind of changes to be made in the organisation structure, authority-responsibility relationships, policies, procedures, standards, market operations and people help to make plan for the change.
Preparing plans for change offers many advantages to the organisation:
(a) Change can be implemented in a systematic manner.
(b) People participate in the change process rather than resist the change.
(c) Communication improves amongst organisational members.
(d) Capital resources are optimally utilised.
(e) All departments coordinate their activities towards the proposed change.
(f) Details on who will be the change agent, (managers or outside agency), what will be the methodology for implementing the change, what is the right time to initiate the change, can be worked in advance.
(g) Future requirements of jobs in the new structure, people needed to work on those jobs, training programmes to improve their potential can be well designed.
Step # 4. Try the Plan:
Resources committed in the change plan cannot be easily reversed. A pilot run of the plan should, therefore, be made by the organisation (on a functional area or a product division) and if it is successful in one unit, it should be implemented in the entire organisation. Problem in the pilot run or pretesting of the plan should be corrected before the total change plan is implemented.
Step # 5. Overcome Resistance to Change:
Change may be resisted as it involves rearrangement of people and resources. There is fear of insecurity, discontentment, loss of social interactions, position or status amongst members. Managers overcome the resistance so that people willingly accept the change.
They promote the driving forces to overcome the restraining forces to change. This will ease the process of transition or change from present situation to the ideal situation.
Step # 6. Implement the Change:
It implies that change process is put into operation. Resources are committed to functional areas, new authority-responsibility relationships are established, people are trained and placed at respective jobs, sound communication system is designed and other operative and administrative arrangements are made.
Managers pass information to people at different levels and clarify their doubts on the proposed change. How effectively the change is planned determines how effectively it is implemented.
Step # 7. Monitor or Review the Change:
A successfully planned and implemented change may not bring the desired results. The change process should, therefore, be regularly monitored and reviewed to analyse the effects of change. Discrepancies or deviations should be brought to the notice of managers and corrective action should be taken to smoothen the process of change.
Observing the level of production, profits and behaviour of employees towards the changed structure at frequent and regular intervals provides timely feedback about successful implementation of change.