Change is the process of moving from one phase to another. It is very unpredictable. Nobody knows when change comes. With the fast development taking place in our world today, businesses have to carry out a lot changes in their enterprises in order to meet up with the rapid change. Like Benjamin Disraeli says 'Change is inevitable in a progressive society. Change is constant.'. A rapid spirit of change can be seen all around us in the society in which we live in, most especially among businesses. Change has become a common route that all businesses pass through regardless of their size. The world is fast and quickly undergoing a change metamorphosis almost like its on a race and as such organizations must change.
Change is very common in most businesses today, but how to manage the change is all that matters. Change management varies from businesses and thus depends mostly on the nature of the business, the type of change and the various kinds of people involve. Is it a health care business or an insurance company, is it implementing new health policies on health workers or insurance workers, and are they part time or full time workers? In order for change to be very effective, it will depends highly on how far the people within the working environment are willing to understand and accept this change.
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This essay throws more light as to what change is all about, what causes change and people's reaction towards change. Focus will be looking at change in a business environment such as a company where we have the Chief Executive Officer, a Manager and the employees.
Change is caused by a number of reasons some of which are:
The government keeps implementing new rules and regulations that affects businesses all around the globe. For example in the UK there are many laws and laws abiding forces that move around to make sure that change has been implemented to suit government policies. For instances no business is suppose to take place on Bank Holiday.
There is also the introduction of modern technologies which every company must implement otherwise they will be left behind in the business world. At first customers use to just go pay cash at the counter in every supermarket they go to but now u can pay using credit cards, or for customer satisfaction, a customer is allow to shop from home and the goods deliver in no time at the home address. This is quite incredible. This modern technology is against the traditional one whereby customers had to wake up and go shopping even they do not feel like.
Also there maybe a drop in sales and it could be caused by competition, the use of modern technology, failure to meet the needs and expectation of customers and a history of poor product development or poor marketing skills. Change must be made. A company that has been having poor sales for the past six months means something needs to be by the board of directors.
The company is being acquired and takeover by new people. There is bound to be implementations of new rules and new policies. The company has to adopt new approach to the business.
More so, when there is a change in weather say from winter to summer, the prices have to change especially for clothes and shoe wears. The prices for winter attires will have to drop drastically for customers to keep buying since they do not have much need for them any more.
When a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) introduces a project that warrants change in a company it is usually met with a lot of mix feelings from the employees. Their first reaction to most change related topics is resistance. Many people hate change so they most often fight to resist it. These resistances to change however are not without solutions. There are various proposed ways according to Dr.A.J. Schuler an expert in leadership and Organizational Change, in which the CEO can approach change in a company and reduce the resistance to that change.A little diplomacy at the outset can strike off a lot of resistance.
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People form such strong bonds at workplace that it becomes very difficult to tear them apart. There is that spirit of loyalty lingering around workers. There is that connection to other people who identify themselves with the old ways of the company and so they will resist change at all cost. If bringing new ways into a company is what a CEO wants then he is setting himself up against the loyalty of the workers to the old ways and the bond between the people who taught them these old ways and this is a serious bone of contention.
A CEO should therefore think a lot about what he has to say and how he has to say it so that it can reduce resistance from the employees. He need to have build a well crafted message on change that includes compliments and honor of the present working environment in the company and honor the contributions of all employees have worked hard and brought such success to the company in the past. The reason why the CEO need to act this way is because if he just goes direct and imposes his policy of change to the people, they employees will feel like they are betraying their former mentors, whether they are still working there or not and put up a resistance.
Change as we all know is a risky thing to do because we are not so sure of the its outcome though we might speculate a lot. The outcome maybe positive or negative but often than not it's a risk worth taking. So bringing change into a work environment requires a leap of faith. The CEO has decided to go through a whole new direction of the unknown believing that something better will come out of it. But they have he has no proof to show for it just words and promises. Taking and accepting change is a risky thing to do and people will only react on something they believe is genuinely going to work, and if they have the feeling that if they do not take the risk the stand the chance of loosing their company, they will rather want to move to towards the new direction no matter the obstacles standing in their way.
So when the CEO want to present a project on change, he should truthfully present the terms as to why he believes this risk is worth taking and favours change. For instance in business enterprise or a firm it is advisable for the CEO to use more of figures while explaining the advantages of the changes because that is the language which most board members and employees will understand or rather pay great attention to. With this the rational minds of the people will gradually get interested and this will also gradually engage the emotional mind which is the most deceived. With all minds focused on your presentation, they will quickly get hold of the prospect of change.
But if the CEO is only interested in selling his ideas on change based on idealistic and unforeseen promises of reward, he will not even come close to effectively moving people to react to his plan. The power to push the people to respond to you can be activated to respond to change if the risk can be accepted in order to get hold of the huge benefits that comes at the end of the tunnel.
You will be surprise that to some people it is seeing it before believing in it that matters. They like to have something to look up to as a role model. If a CEO thinks he got such great idea or vision to help in the development of the company, then he will have to call on some other serious members of the board to join him in his views because he will not be able to do this on his own. Having others support him will render his project more credible for people to join him in the implementation of change. This may mean setting up effective programs that will act like a role model for change to be accepted and give clues to the employees before the CEO makes his project of change known to the employees. Most people believe in less talk but more demonstration. Like the saying goes, 'action speaks louder than words'. This can go a very long way towards overcoming resistance to change. Changing people's ideas from 'It can't be done' to 'How can we get it be done'.
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People resist because they fear the lack competence to change. This a situation most workers will never admit but will put up a lot of resistance because of this. They will not wan to admit failure. Anyway this is true because most of the times change comes a a lot of needs like an improvement in communication skills. Some workers will feel guilty of not being able to meet up with the transition of the company. They feel incompetence. In most cases their intuition is always right. In many companies, these fears are never considered or even given a second by the CEO which explains why change requires a very good and strong motivator. Moreover a successful change campaign should include new training programs. The CEO should outline the initial events information on the list, the next steps to follow, should outline future communication channels for questions and also to specify how people will learn the specifics that will be required from whom and when. The training program must be implemented and evaluated over time. In this way the CEO can minimize the initial fear of incompetence by showing how people can be brought competence through out the change process thus reducing resistance to change.
Workers fear hidden agendas most especially among would be reformers. This has always been the case amongst these set of people. They are know for having a history of always deceiving an organization and leading the workers astray for their own personal benefits. So if a CEO present a project for change it is but normal that people are going to be afraid and have doubts about it. They are going to wonder if he is having any secret agenda behind this project, they will question his motives. They will feel insulted because its like the person presenting the project is claiming to know more than the rest of the other worker. The CEO may even be suspected for wanting to to increase his own power and possibly eliminate opposition from other thus all these doubts enhances the resistance to change.
In order to handle this properly, the CEO better be very interested in change for the right reasons and not for personal gain in order to overcome reduce resistance. He should be open with information and ready to communicate as much as he can. And if the change project requires a reduction of workforce and an increase in salary, then let him be very open about that and create an orderly process of in-house-retraining. Let the CEO get fast information from outside and create a process to allow everyone to move on and stay focus on the change effort.
People feel change has made them lost their sense of identity. When a factory worker begins to do less work with her hands and more automated instruments, she may begin to loose her sense of purpose as a craft person and may feel that what attracted her in the first place is no longer there, it has been lost.
Workers maybe right to feel that way towards change. But the only answer to this is to help employees see the many benefits that come with new working processes, and see how their own aims and goals or mission and values can be achieved under new ways of operating systems.
When resistance springs from this identity related roots, it is usually very deep and powerful and to minimize its force, CEOs must be able to understand it and then address it that change does not only have cost but also comes with a lot of benefits.
Most people fear change because they do not want to loose. Some change comes with reshuffling of the carbinets. Some people gain new and higher positions while other gain lower positions and even loose their jobs. Workers can not stand this shock, they put up a resistance to kill the change project and remain in their comfort zones.
The best way to deal with this is to present the inevitable of change, given the rise landscape and offer to help people adjust.
People genuinely believe that the proposed idea is wrong. Some times some people just do not believe in other people's ideas. They just assume their ideas on change just does not make sense and is not good enough.
Another typical way to reduce resistance is negotiate with the workers. Promise them an increase in salary provided they can work extra time and renew contracts with more advantages.
Kurt Zadek Lewin, a German-American psychologist, is known to have described change as a three stage process. It's a high level of approach to change. It gives the CEO or Manager the ability to implement radical change, minimize the disruption of the organizational structure and makes sure change is permanently adopted.
To Lewin, change has always met with a lot of resistance and so change can only take place or be effective if the people involve embrace it and help in putting it to permanent practice.
Kurt Lewin has three stages of implementing a very high level of change, the stages are; the unfreezing, change and the refreezing processes.
According to Lewin unfreezing means getting people to gain perspective on their day to day activities, to forget the old ways and routines and open up to new ways achieving their goals and objectives. Unfreezing takes place when an organizational structure has remained the same for a long time, until the old habits and routine have settled in. The entire organization is moving on its normal boring direction. They hold tight to daily activities and routine that are no longer useful but are still being performed in the organization and nobody is there to question their motive or motivation. Employees may have learned and gotten use to all these without considering whether there are new ways or more efficient methods for production. Basically the current practice and processes are to be recessed in order to let the wheel of change flow in and take control over the entire organizational system and structure.
Once the employees have opened up their hearts and minds to welcome change, it then that change starts to take place. According to Kurt this is the second stage and he calls it Change because it is here that the actual change takes place. This process of change can be a very dynamic one and slow, but it is worth every effort. This stage of change can be named the transitional period. To Kurt in order to gain efficiency, some people have to take up new task and responsibilities which sometimes entails the learning of new ideas which will first of all slow down the development of the company and meet a lot of chaos and resistances from the workers but that is the price to pay in order enhance effective change within the organizational structure. The change process can be looked upon as an investment both in terms of time and the allocation of resources.
If the changes have been fully implemented and made permanent then one can say that change has actually taken place says Kurt. Once changes have been made and the structure regained its effectiveness, every effort must be made to keep the new organizational changes up to standard. Once the organization has made the workers aware of their new routines and structure of the company, refreezing will no longer be a problem. Refreezing is the final stage of Lewin's theory to change. This process takes place when everyone has started getting too use to the change in structure and the new ways of production in the company and yet they are ready to take full responsibility to stand up and restructure the work place without putting up any more resistance to change. Here the CEO has already structured his company and made the changes a permanent one in such a way that the workers are aware that change can come in at any time.
British Airways is the Unite Kingdom (UK)'s most largest international scheduled airline. It flies to over 550 destinations at all convenient times and to the best located airports. British Airways is noted for its excellent customer services, whether customers are in the air or on the ground. The British Airways group is made up of British Airways Plc and a number of other companies including the British Airways Holidays Limited.
Most business travelers like to travel with British Airways because of the spirit of excellence that they manifest in the company, though it is a very costly traveling with this airline it is worth it. The airline is very time conscious which a huge factor to all business travelers is. People especially business travelers moving across the globe to attend business meetings or conferences here and there will usually prefer taking the British Airways because they are sure of getting there on time. British Airways has spent a lot of money in their company to meet up with the needs of their customers and workers.
Now with economic crisis that the UK is facing today, British Airways is gradually falling apart. They are loosing all their customers. Most people are now switching to low-cost airlines because they can no longer meet up with the cost of the airline. The airlines chief executive officer tells BBC (British Broadcasting network) that this has been "the most difficult year in the history of aviation industry". British Airways has also suffered a lost before tax for about £342m for nine months in 2009.
In order for them to survive this, British Airways needs to restructure and permanently reduce cost. The chief executive officer goes further to even say "operational changes at British Airways are absolutely necessary to improve the performance of the business".
By implementing a new system of running the company, British Airways stand a better chance of gaining back all the had lost and even more. Change is very important to them at this point for it the only way through which they can be seen.