Original Post by Alex Johnsen:
Change can elicit a myriad of emotions in people. Generally speaking, most people respond to change by evaluating what the negative aspects of the change are, then what are the interesting facets of the change, and finally what are the positive outcomes of the change (Clarke n.d., 5:00). The amount of time each stage can last depends on the individual, what the change entails, but most importantly, how the change is managed. A change only comes about when it is managed appropriately (Homan n.d., 8:00). A good way to manage change is to give your reports a heads up that change is looming (Clarke n.d., 7:43). By communicating that a change is imminent, employees can prepare accordingly. Another key concept is to encourage and empower one’s employees to embrace the change through authorship (Clark n.d., 9:50). When an employee feels like they have a say in the change, they are less likely to be resistant to the change as they will feel more invested if they have a say in how the change is to be implemented. Lastly, it is very important to recognize that the more you try and control the change, the more you are likely to disconnect yourself from the reality of the dynamics that are out of sight and out of your ability to control (Homan n.d., 19:31). Managing change presents a difficult paradox in that it is important to foster a culture of adoption, but in a manner that reassures employees and encourages them to have a say in how the change will be implemented and how it might affect them.
Clarke, Jason. n.d. “Embracing Change.” TEDxPerth. YouTube. Dec. 22, 2010. Video, 18:03. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPhM8lxibSU
Homan, Thijs. n.d. “The inner side of Organizational Change.” TEDxAmsterdamED. YouTube. June 14, 2017. Video, 22:06. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n-c6iAKFgg
Good point that the amount of time each stage lasts partly depends on how the leaders manage the change, but a leader who tries to control the change is not effectively handling the situation. Great description of how a leader can manage change without trying to control it. Your post also goes to show that a leader needs to not panic when most people start responding to the change by evaluating negative aspects of it. Empowering employees to embrace the change through authorship is a great way to move them from evaluating its negative aspects to focusing on its positive outcomes.
Do these ideas bring to mind a specific change that you have witnessed in the workplace?
Reply by Alex Johnsen:
Thanks for the feedback. At my previously company, I had a terrible manager/boss. He was very controlling, mercurial, and handled difficult situations poorly more often than not. One particular instance was when the company decided to “secretly” put in GPS trackers in everyone’s company vehicle, but didn’t tell anyone. Well, it only took about 30 minutes to figure out that a GPS tracker was installed and then word spread like a wildfire. There was immediate backlash, denial, and resistance. Because the manager was so poorly trained, he failed to bring about a change in the employees’ attitude, which ultimately led to several employees’ resignations. Had he been more transparent and communicated better, he could have given us an opportunity to take ownership and enter the “exploration phase” of the attitude curve.