Managing Change Successfully

We all know change is an integral part of life and the business world. It’s the ability to adapt to change that set successful businesses apart from the rest. Look no further than BlackBerry’s $900m second quarter loss and subsequent restructure to see this case in point.

Here are two models that are frequently used to understand organisational change.

  1. Lewin – Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze

Popular is due to its simplicity and ease of use, Lewin’s model describes change in a three stage process. During Unfreeze, leadership needs to understand the current state reasons for change, gain strong support from senior management and then communicate a compelling message for reasons of change and a clear vision. Lewin’s forcefield analysis can be used to understand the forces for and against change.

The second stage of Change is the actual transformation from the original state, empowering people to take action, breaking down old structures, building new ones while communicating the plan as it is executed. Management need to recognise that this stage takes time as people get used to new ways of working and understand the benefits of change.

Finally, Refreeze deals with solidifying changes in the organisational culture and creating sustainable solutions while providing support. A key element is recognising the achievements and celebrating and rewarding these.

  1. Kotter’s 8 Steps

Perhaps one of the more well-known authors on change management, Kotter’s book Our Iceberg Is Melting is a staple on any leaders reading list. The key points he touches on are:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency – help others to see why change is needed
  2. Create a guiding coalition – put leaders in charge who share commitment
  3. Create a clear vision – focus on the direction and strategy
  4. Communicate the vision and gain buy-in – convey meaning and be clear
  5. Empowering people for action – engage and support, remove obstacles in the way
  6. Plan and create short-term wins – make achievements visible
  7. Never Letting up – keep the focus on the goal, measure progress
  8. Incorporate changes into culture – embed change into systems, structures and processes
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