Friday, October 12, 2012

Change Groups

Change Groups are one of the most successfully used management tools.  Forming groups (of those to be affected by the change) to help plan and implement change creates ownership and commitment to it.  It becomes their change rather than change being forced on them and thus helps to flatten the downward spike of the Change Curve and reduce its duration.  One of the most important roles of a Change Group involves planning the content and form for getting the required “new information” in the hands of those who will need it—training programs, instruction manuals, KASH books,  one-on-one training,  buddy systems, temporary or permanent help desks, etc.  There are few changes so small that their impact justifies ignoring the need for change management, and virtually all change involving multiple people will benefit from the use of Change Groups.  Consider the impact of installing a new telephone system or something as simple as bringing in a new copy machine.  A little advance planning, disseminating the right knowledge in the right form to the right people, ceremonialism, recognizing accomplishments, paying attention to it—can pay big dividends in terms of achieving the desired benefit without costly disruption and frustration.

Of the four elements of KASH (Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, and Habit), Attitude is the most difficult to manage.  A negative attitude, resistance to change, is reduced when people 1) understand the characteristics of the Change Curve and the basics of change management and 2) when they become part of the change process.  One of the functions of leadership is education.  That should include continuously reinforcing the organization's understanding of the Two Certainties in life and business—change is constant and we are always judge by others.  If change is constant everyone in the organization must understand the Change Curve and the important tools for change management.
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