Business Change Management

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

What better description of Change today ? We no sooner get used to the status quo, whether it be acquiring a new skill or getting used to a new circumstance, then things change again….. and we have to start all over again, and again!
We all prefer to avoid change. We’re all much more comfortable with the status quo. We believe no change means security. It’s a natural human reaction.

But do we really hate change, or just hate not being in control of it?

Companies are facing many strategic and organisational challenges in today’s new environment:

Rapid changes in external environment:

  1. Mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships leading to unexpected new entrants into markets who make innovative use of synergies
  2. Faster moving technological developments – information is a commodity – knowledge is the asset
  3. Shorter time for competition to enter the market leading to unexpected competition
  4. Shorter product life cycles leading to rapid changes in products and services
  5. Increased demands from shareholders around performance and more demanding and sophisticated customers who are prepared to go elsewhere

Examples of changes faced by Organisations:

  1. Need to create more flexible and fluid structures to meet challenging market demands
  2. Change in the psychological contract – between employees and employers
  3.  Creating cultures that promote / encourage more personal accountability, responsibility, innovation and collaboration
  4.  Need to develop stronger relationships with customers
  5.  Managing the paradox of growth and cost reduction
  6.  Pressure to constantly improve quality of products and services and create a clear, distinct image in the market place
  7.  Need to develop new skills to lead and manage more complex organisations

The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful transformation cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces a satisfying result.If you’ve had the opportunity to read about ‘Change Management’, you will have noticed that there are innumerable amount of ‘Models’ to use for managing change.Silica Associates uses John P. Kotter’s ‘Eight step process of creating major change’. Why Kotter’s model ? We have found from experience that it works and is more effective than most.

“Be the change that you want to create” Gandhi

Silica Associates will guide you through the most effective way of achieving the following eight steps :

Step 1 – Establish a sense of urgency

Too many would-be leaders don’t generate sufficient urgency in their companies to gain the massive momentum that change demands. Effective leaders dramatically depict an imminent crisis to light a fire under their followers.

Step 2 – Create a guiding coalition

Despite talk of large-scale consensus building, you need a relatively small group of smart people with the passion and talent to begin the process. The types of people on this core team is key.

Step 3 – Develop a vision and strategy

Clarify where you want to go and paint a vivid picture of that promised land. If you know your destination, you won’t waste time wandering down dead-ends.

Step 4 – Communicate the vision

Communicate the sense of urgency and the vision simply, vividly and repeatedly. As when advertising, blanket your audience with your messages constantly and through various media. Use meetings, memos, newsletters and all other formal and informal interactions.

Step 5 – Empower broad-based action

Bureaucracy can undermine vision : get rid of obstacles ; change systems or structures that undermine the change vision ; encourage risk taking and non-traditional ideas, activities and actions.

Step 6 – Generate short term wins

To keep the momentum going, acknowledge every success (even the small ones) and celebrate publicly. In this way, you silence the naysayers who bank on the status quo.

Step 7 – Consolidate gains and produce more change

Since resistance always lurks in the shadows waiting to reassert itself, periodically refresh the vision by facing new challenges. Create new stretch goals so employees don’t rest on their laurels or even regress.

Step 8 – Anchor new approaches in the culture

Cultural change comes at the end of the process, not at the start. To make the changes endure, clearly articulate how previous changes produced success. Constant change increases the pressure on the organisation to adapt. The key to success is to learn how to create successful change.