Change Management

by Tony Gill

Management in all types of organization face the twin dilemmas of "continuity & change" and "control & empowerment".

How can organizations continue to generate profits (private sector organizations) or deliver social programmes (public and voluntary sector organizations) today while co-evolving with their "customers" and their needs so that they may still be around to perform their stated purpose tomorrow? This is a serious issue for managers when you realise that the average life span of a person in the western world is significantly greater than the life span of the typical private sector organization. With increasing privatisation and outsourcing in public sector organizations, they too are not immune from the problems of organizational demise or significant downsizing.

As organizations grow in size there is a perceived need for greater control over the organization as complexity in its operations increase. This is at the very time when the only way to manage this increased complexity is by empowering people in organizations to take some key decisions locally. One of many reasons why managers fear empowerment is that inadequate management and communication systems are in place in their organization. These systems need to change as the organization changes.

For many change in the organization is incremental - often as the result of quality improvement or six sigma programmes. At the other extreme change can be radical when managers have to make significant alterations in the way the organization interfaces with its customers because they have failed to adapt on a more continuous basis. A key problem is understanding the nature and degree of change required. Once defined project management techniques are ideal for support most change programmes.

An obvious starting point is to better understand through modelling the "as is" position as well as the intended "to be" situation. The Process of Managing Change is thus about defining and managing the "gap" between these two positions.

At Phrontis we have developed and applied a framework for managing change that is underpinned by systems thinking and programme management. We believe that you really need to do your "homework" before attempting change because without adequate preparation you are more likely to aggravate the situation.

As change programmes are embarked on you need to plan and manage these programmes using the principles of programme and project management so that you will know how well you are doing. Many change programmes are of a strategic nature making Balanced Scorecard or EFQM approaches to performance measurement very effective.


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