Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Perception of change

More from 'change management in a week.' See previous post.

You can see why change that affects people has problems. Someone initiating a change may feel ' the change is only small, no one will lose their jobs and the new organisation will be much more efficient.' The people affected are more likely to think 'the change looks large, any efficiency gain must result in job loses, the work will be different and I am not sure I will like so much and I may not be working with my friends. Where will I be in the pecking order after the change?'

Those being affected are likely to have many unanswered questions. They go through the roller-coaster of denial (it is unnecessary and won't happen), blaming others for making it necessary, blaming themselves for not seeing it coming and getting out sooner, despair as there is nothing they can go, realising it won't go away, giving it a go (trial and error), gaining confidence and finally getting results. Management need to be aware and:

  • be prepared and not surprised by the reaction;
  • plan for a downturn in performance during transition;
  • providing information and support;
  • expecting anger and apparently irrational responses;
  • conceding on points that do not fundamentally affect the change (giving way);
  • helping people experiment with the new ways;
  • Setting targets and goals as the situation becomes clear so that people can understand what success looks like.

Good example of different perceptions. Scientist would describe water as a clear, odourless drinkable liquid. People lving next to a polluted river would see it differently.

No comments: