Managing People And The Process Of Change Part 2: Managing The Process

If you are looking to really change your business or are undertaking turnaround management Consulting Website Template WordPress, to be successful, you will need to make long term change stick. This article looks at some of the techniques and processes turnaround firms use in implementing change management.
Obviously, if you can get your staff to want to change (to ‘buy in’ in the jargon) they are obviously a lot easier to manage and motivate than if you need to force them to change. Unfortunately the management style required in a situation tends to be dictated by the degree of crisis and speed of response needed.
Most turnaround situations start out in a state of confusion, chaos and a lack of control.
As a result, in the initial phases of a real cash crisis or a turnaround situation, speed of change tends to be of the essence, periods of uncertainty have to be minimised, and control has to be established. This tends to require a highly centralised and directive management style (‘Tell’) to deal with the crisis phase as you get a tight grip on the business and there is a ruthless focus on the core issues of cash and what can be major changes to restore viability.
Even during this stage however, respect for staff, even those resistant to change is important, and the critical distinction between a directive and assertive, and a rude and aggressive approach, always needs to be maintained.
As the degree of crisis reduces, the approach can be relaxed into more one of explaining the benefits of the proposed changes so as to obtain commitment (‘Sell’) while in the regrowth phase this needs to evolve again into a more empowering one (‘Ask’) which gives scope for staff to innovate and experiment and relaxes what may have become an over rigid management style.
One approach that can be very effective in empowering a team to direct a swift pace of change is the ‘crisis weekend’, where you get your line managers together as a group for a real crisis summit. There the team can really work through, in a concentrated and intense atmosphere, what the situation is, what needs to happen, and who is going to do what. When done right, this team then becomes a powerful committed force and never forgets ‘Our twelve-hour days when we sorted out how we were going to really fix the mess.’
You will need to give the team time to gel however, as to become a team, the group has to go through a team building process of ‘storming’ where they argue about how to work, before ‘norming’ when they agree how to work together before actually acting as team and ‘performing’.
As you move through a change process, particularly in a turnaround situation, the ways of effecting and fixing change will start with a very directing style of fixing new habits. One approach is to issue instructions and then check up every day for 21 days that the instruction is being followed that day. The theory is that by the end of three weeks, the new way of doing something will have become the new habit and your staff will know that once something has been decided, they need to do it because there is no hiding place and you will not be going away.
You can then relax your vigilance and checks on this item significantly.
This approach is however highly time consuming and your efforts will therefore need to be clearly prioritised.
Over time you can move to a more empowering mechanism for changing the culture using a range of other approaches to manage the culture:
– Walk the talk – lead by example
– Shared values – include attitude as a basis for recruiting like-minded staff to reinforce the culture and define ‘antisocial behaviour’ (for example rudeness to customers, or laziness) for ‘our culture’. If everyone in the business is living the culture, the ‘antisocial’ can be dumped without remorse or protest
– Training – the values of the organisation should be specified and incorporated into training and staff development
– Rewards – ensure these go to employees who act the values
– Value staff – treat them like winners and care
– Celebrate success – identify wins (especially early quick ones), make success very Why Join A Boutique Consulting Firm visible (for example, give a bottle of champagne to people who exceed targets)
– Celebrate creative failures – its better to try and not succeed than not to try at all, so long as the risk and downside of failure is limited
– Cultivate identity – promote the values as part of your brand and make it real by way of uniforms, corporate colours, emblems and slogans
– Put customers first – which makes the job worthwhile
– Develop a tight culture, but loose management – so you can give staff discretion but within the bounds of a firm set of corporate values
When managing staff it is important to recognise that your staff will have a variety of personality types and will be motivated by, and fear, different things and so the third article in this series looks at the techniques used for managing people through change on a personal level.
So, to decide what’s the best approach to use to start to achieve the changes you want, decide what degree of pressure the business is under and whether there is a ‘good crisis’ you can use.

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