Author Information
Jim Strange has 37 Published Articles

United Kingdom,
Surrey,
Guildfors,
55,



Key to Successful Change - Don’t Attack the Symptom, Cure the Cause!

Posted On : Oct-26-2009 | seen (576) times | Article Word Count : 616 |

Too often, management sees these characteristics of underperforming companies as their main problem areas, rather than just symptoms. So they embark on a change programme, pouring in funds and diverting resources to pursue phantom problems. In these circumstances, it’s not surprising that so many change programmes fail to deliver the expected improvements and may, in severe circumstances, have exactly the opposite effect to that intended!
Stocks too high? Poor due date performance? Long lead times? Too many customer complaints? Long payback period? Demoralised workforce?

Too often, management sees these characteristics of underperforming companies as their main problem areas, rather than just symptoms. So they embark on a change programme, pouring in funds and diverting resources to pursue phantom problems. In these circumstances, it’s not surprising that so many change programmes fail to deliver the expected improvements and may, in severe circumstances, have exactly the opposite effect to that intended!

The Anatomy of Change

The details vary, but in the main all organisational change involves three phases:

1) Recognition of the problem and preparation of a solution.
2) Implementation of the changes, and
3) Consolidation, assessment and adjustment to new realities.

In Stage I, the organisation usually expresses great dissatisfaction with the status quo. Someone must understand the underlying problem, develop a vision for the future, and plan how to get there. During Stage II there must be a willingness to take on the resisters, particularly the ones that give you the “kiss of yes” while opposing every move. Stage III, the consolidation phase is the time for measurement and rewards. It’s the time when the change plan itself undergoes changes, based upon an honest assessment of what’s working and what isn’t. This is when an organisation’s flexibility is tested to its limit.

Why Change Efforts Fail

Change efforts fail for two main reasons:

Poor design, including failing to understand the true nature of the problem, and to address the underlying processes to get the work done (for example, understanding that how performance is measured strongly influences behaviour), and relying on technology to provide a solution without explicitly tackling the necessary behavioural changes.

Poor communication. A change initiative is more akin to a journey than a clearly defined project. Rarely is the outcome exactly as envisaged at the outset. Some units will change quickly, while others take longer to start. Change leaders must be prepared to repeat the message quite a few times, or it won’t get heard. The speech must make clear the programme’s intent; a lack of clarity will almost certainly cause the initiative to founder. Change leaders must explain the initiatives thoroughly, letting employees hear the arguments for and against the rejected options. They must also address employee’s fears: People want to know why you think they can make it through the change. They also want to know how you’re going to help them through it.

Meaningful change is not easy, but you do not have to be all knowing to pull it off. Not only are know-it-all leaders unnecessary for successful change, they usually mess it up. Crystal balls give an unclear view of the future, making it very difficult to spell out in advance what form the future should take – so many who try usually get it wrong.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter likens the typical change effort to “putting lipstick on a bulldog.” - The business leader sees something that’s ugly, such as a process or a product that needs improvement. The leader wrestles with the change, and finding it difficult to get the thing to behave properly, decides to make it look superficially better and moves on. And the typical result of this misguided cosmetic effort? The bulldog’s “appearance hasn’t improved, but now it’s really angry.”

Keys to successful change:
Address the underlying problem, not the symptom.
Get people involved in planning their (and your) future.
Communicate constantly and clearly.
Flexibility. If something doesn’t work, try something else.

Article Source : http://www.articleseen.com/Article_Key to Successful Change - Don’t Attack the Symptom, Cure the Cause!_4550.aspx

Author Resource :
Dartnell : Planning a Business

Keywords : planning a business, business planning services,

Category : Business : Management

Bookmark and Share Print this Article Send to Friend