Managing Organisational Change

Organisational Change

There is nothing permanent except change.   Heraclitus

The speed and magnitude of change seems ever increasing and to remain relevant and viable, organisations need to respond to, embrace and implement appropriate change. The ATOD sector is faced with the necessity to change work practices and procedures based on internal pressures for change, such as the need to improve work practices and procedures which are not working well, and external pressures for change such as government policy and funding decisions, the increasing availability of new evidence to inform work practice and the development of new guidelines and reporting requirements.

Organisational change that is not well planned and managed can result in less than optimal results and a host of unintended and unhelpful consequences that create a negative workplace culture and extra work for management.

To introduce change effectively requires:

  • Thinking it through: develop a clear vision of what the change is, why it is required and what is required to achieve it. It is essential to consider not only organisational procedures but the impact on staff.
  • A Shared Vision: get people on board by helping them to understand the nature of the change and the impact on them. Readiness for change and “Ownership” of the change will achieve better outcomes than imposed change – get people involved and keep them involved.
    Communicating: regularly and repeatedly, promptly, clearly, carefully, enthusiastically, optimistically, truthfully, empathically, through many different channels, why, when, how, what. As much as you can.
  • Addressing People’s Concerns: your organisation cannot function without staff, so provide opportunities through multiple channels and on multiple occasions for staff to express their concern; actively LISTEN to them. Resistance is natural, but should not be ignored. Acknowledge, value and validate concerns and work with individuals to gain and maintain their support.
  • Developing the Action Plan: pull together the team that will drive the change. Involve change agents – credible and trusted staff from across the organisation, and other relevant stakeholders, in developing and managing the change process. Consider the use of small scale trials. Identify all resources required to implement the change. Include appropriate incentives and rewards for contributing to measurable milestones and empower all staff to work towards them.
  • Creating a Climate of Certainty: give people a chance to farewell the old ways to help them move forward. Let them know what will not change and keep them informed about what will change, and how it will change. Keep communicating, keep listening, enthusiastically “walk the talk”. Set short term, realistic targets for which you can provide feedback and reward successful progress.
  • Monitoring Progress: seek employee feedback and be prepared to incorporate their suggestions for improvement. Keep up the momentum and enthusiasm during the sometimes unproductive transition period to the new ways. Consolidate the changes, integrating them into the organisation’s systems. Provide reward and share credit and recognition where it is due.

For more information:

Organisational Change from NCETA’s Workforce Development “Tips”

Cole, K “Management Theory and Practice”