Managers And The Process Of Change

Managers And The Process Of Change ‘Moving organisations from current to future changed states is not easy and requires skills and knowledge some managers do not possess’ Introduction The desperate call-to-arms, Change or Die – which can be heard echoing down the corridors of businesses everywhere – is evidence that leaders have recognised the need to change. Managers know that companies must be fast, flexible, responsive, resilient, and creative to survive. Most also know that current mind-sets, techniques, and tools are ineffective for creating such an organisation. These people are displaying the talents required to successfully negotiate change. They are aware of the limitations around or within themselves and are willing to learn the necessary skills required to succeed as change managers. Change is the process of moving from one state to another.

Just as moving house requires the massive packing of furniture and other items, change requires just as much preparations to be successful. Most people do not like change, they like things to remain the same. Changes require more effort to adapt. It threatens stability and security and people fear that they will not be able to cope. Resistance is the natural defence to such perceived threats.

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A good manager has to be able to work with and overcome resistance he/she must be able to control the whole process of change. With this in mind, I have considered the role of the manager, what his/her function is and what skills are required to enable him/her to be a successful change manager. Function of Managers Fayol (1908) identified the functions of the manager as: 1. Setting objectives 2. Organisation 3.

Motivation 4. Control or measurement 5. Co-ordination These functions are as true today as they were then, but I consider communication as the key to them. It is the essential function in successful change management. Drucker (1977 in Stewart 1986) also makes the important addition of, ‘the development of people.’ Each of the functions can be seen as essential to managing emergent or planned change, however it is the balance of skills and knowledge combined that produce a successful change manager. With these points in mind we then consider organisations and their nature.

Organisations – their nature and culture. Organisations are living social organisms, each with its own culture, character, nature, and identity. Every organisation has its own history of success, which reinforces and strengthens the organisation’s way of doing things. The older and more successful the organisation, the stronger its culture, its nature, its identity becomes. They are communities of people with a mission (Putman, 1990 in Buchanan and Huczinsky, 1991), not machines.

The basic nature of a living social organism is naturally more fundamental, deeper in the hierarchy, and therefore much more powerful than business work processes, financial systems, business strategy, vision, supply chains, information technology, lean manufacturing, marketing plans, team behaviour, corporate governance. All of these phenomena are important. But they are less fundamentally important than the basic nature of organisations as living social organisms. This critically important reality must be where any intervention starts. When this occurs, the intervention has a chance of working.

To enable this managers must be able to combine their knowledge of the above systems with response ability. If we look at Figure 1, it demonstrates the fine balance required by a manager to remain agile, allowing him/her to manage a changing organisation whilst taking into consideration the infrastructure of the organisation. Agility is an important skill for a manager to possess, if he/she is able to reach this point then they are more likely to be manage change efficiently. Fig. 1 (Schneider, B. 1997.) Whether a particular change will work or not is related to the extent to which the idea behind it takes constant process of patterned change into account.

Determining where an organisation has been, where it is currently, and where it is primarily poised to go next is critically important before any change is attempted. Indeed, what managers must do is discover the unique patterns and processes – and then work to influence them in a manner that helps the organisation to help itself function more efficiently and effectively. The pattern of dynamic relationships at the organisation level is culture, which explains why organisational culture is so powerful. So powerful, in fact, that its impact supersedes all other factors when it comes to organisational change (Kotter & Heskett, 1992 in Schneider 1997). Collins and Porras (1994 in Clegg et al 1996) showed that it is strikingly evident that organisational culture lies at the centre of what differentiates visionary companies from comparison companies (and significantly greater economic performance over the long-term). Culture, how we do things around here in order to succeed (Schneider, 1994, 1997), is an organisation’s way, identity, pattern of dynamic relationships, reality.

It has everything to do with implementation and how success is actually achieved. No management idea, no matter how good, will work in practice or implementation if it does not fit the culture. Therefore managers have to consider how they can make the culture fit the plan. They do this by acknowledging which type of culture they are in, and then choosing which skills and knowledge they require to ‘fit’ the circumstances. Leaders create one of four core cultures, consciously and/or unconsciously, from their own personal history, nature, socialisation experiences, and perception of what it takes to succeed in their marketplace.

(Schneider 1997) Each of the four core cultures emerges from the following organisation archetypes: ? Control: militaristic system; power motives. ? Collaboration: family and/or team system; affiliation motives ? Competence: targeting system; achievement motives ? Cultivation: growth system(s); self actualisation motives (dagdfhgj) There is a strong connection between strategy, culture, and leadership. The fundamental connections are shown in Figure 2, which looks at organisation culture, the predicted strategies and the leadership styles. It is to these connections that we must look in order to quantify the skills that the managers within these organisations would be required to utilise to successfully facilitate change. The four ‘epistemologies’ that correspond to each of the four core cultures are also listed. By ‘epistemology’ I mean the primary or central way that each core culture knows and understands. Fig.2 (Kotter, J.P. & Heskett, J.L.

1992) Culture Strategy Leadership Epistemology Control o Market dominance o Commodity-like o Distribution intensive o Life and death o Predictability o Authoritative o Directive o Conservative o Cautious o Definitive o Commanding o Firm o Certainty o Organisational systematism Collaboration o Synergistic customer relationship o Close partnership with customer o High customisation o Total solution for one customer o Incremental, step-by-step, customer relationship o Team builder o First among equals o Coach o Participative o Integrator o Trust builder o Synergy o Experiential knowing Competence o Superiority o Excellence o Extremely unique o Create market niche o Constant innovation to stay ahead o Typically, carriage trade markets o Standard setter o Conceptual visionary o Taskmaster o Assertive, convincing persuader o Challenger of others o Distinction o Conceptual systematism Cultivation o Growth of customer o Fuller realisation of potential o Enrichment of customer o Raise the human spirit o Further realisation of ideals, values, higher-o …