Shifting Minds Limited Registered office: Twyford House, 51 Twyford Avenue, London, N2 9NR, United Kingdom.
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020 8374 3985
Are you managing key changes in your organisation, or merely playing hopscotch?
Just for a moment remember your early school days...back then one of the most popular games was hopscotch. For those of you who are too young to remember this was a game whereby you had to hop, skip and jump across several squares and then land firmly at the end. In our experience lots of directors and managers in organisations genuinely believe that change management is much the same! They individually or collectively describe the future whether it be a new structure, set of processes and supporting systems, and then assume a straight line from the present to this desirable future. Actually on paper moving from today i.e. the “AS IS" to the "TO BE" can be considered as a straightforward transition; unfortunately much to their surprise things do not go as smoothly as planned, benefits are not realised and the executive top team often feels frustrated and let down.
So what lies at the root cause of these problems? Firstly the people directly affected by the changes experience a whole range of emotions from anger to denial through to resentment and apathy – these emotional shifts are often displayed as classic “emotional change curves”. Interestingly, as advisors, we are often asked by managers – “how can we shorten the time it takes for individual to get used to the new setup?” Some go as far as to say or request that is done in a matter of a few short weeks!
Secondly, longer term support for the changes only really develops when individuals directly affected by the change have their “fingerprints” over the design and implementation. This is not always easy - as it swallows up time and may change outcomes - but nevertheless leaves individuals and groups feeling more empowered and involved.
Thirdly, most directors and managers fail to identify fully the range of people affected by the change – there are of course the obvious candidates but there are also many other people who have a direct or indirect influence on the outcome of the change project. These people collectively known as “stakeholders” also have to be managed/communicated with effectively. Leaving someone “out of the loop” in terms of updates on project progress can irk them sufficiently to put in a bad word or raise concerns.
Fourthly, insufficient attention is paid to how the culture of the function or in the whole business/organisation will evolve as a result of the changes proposed. One of the real difficulties in this area is the existence of paradigms otherwise described as “the way things are around here” simply because most of the thinking is subconscious. Examples here could be the way decisions are made, the level of creativity expected of workgroups or to what extent existing processes are allowed to be challenged. What is required is both a full understanding of how things are currently and how they are likely to be once the change has been completed. Buried within this will be areas of keen and utmost interest to individuals in the organisation such as “how have my career prospects changed?” or “Will I be improving or reducing my status here or in the perception of the world outside?”
Fifthly, many change projects are run with insufficient attention to holistic project management disciplines e.g. plans and controls that comprehensively ensure that tasks, communication activities and all-important change measures are all included on a step-by-step basis.
Just considering the above points moves change management away from a simple hop, skip and jump towards a subtle and complex process requiring foresight, tools and techniques as well as some well-developed emotional intelligence. We believe the ability to managing change is one of the most important and challenging skills that a professional manager needs to learn.
Shifting Minds provides comprehensive change and project management services, ranging from skills and effective mind-set based training courses, through to initiative or project related consultancy support.
Our change and project management programmes
We provide the following training programmes:-
For more information, call us now on 020 8374 3985 or email firstname.lastname@example.org