Change Management and Layers of Resistance

Any organization which wants to improve its performance must go through organizational, personnel, technological and above all mental changes. Within the process of change management one must carefully follow a procedure to overcome all levels of resistance.  Various levels of resistance exist within every person and therefore within each organization. If one does not carefully manage this process, one will be sure to fail, since the change will not be supported by the people within the organization and will therefore not be sustainable.

The change management process is meant to answer the following questions:

1) Why Change?

2) What to Change?

3) What to Change to?

4) How to Cause the Change?

These 4 questions can be related to the four steps within a change management process. Within each of these four steps, one must be carefull to eliminate the corresponding objections. Combining the four step change management process with the layers of resistance will result in the following procedure:

1) Why Change?

Within this step, we need to get agreement upon the fact that there is a (common) problem. When you as an organization do not reach your (strategic) goal and at the same time you have various problems, you can bet that your organization has a problem. If you can not agree on the fact that there is a problem, than any change management process will fail to deliver a proper solution. In fact, one can not even start the process.

2) What to Change?

When there is an agreement across the organization that there is a problem, one can then commence with the second step in the change management process, i.e. getting agreement on what to change. This is a very difficult steps as it involves getting a good picture of your current situation and its corresponding issues. For this step, a special breakthrough methodology has been developed which will enable every organization to map its current situation based on clear cause-effect relationships. The result of this map is the identification of one or more root causes of most of the issues your company is facing. Usually, there is one root cause in each major value stream / business process. This process of identifying the root causes is very important, since it enables the organization to agree on the real problem(s). Even if the common problem has been identified and agreed one can still encounter the situation in which one or more of the employees of the company can state that the problem is not within their control. This is the reason that this type of analysis must be conducted with various people from within the organization from C-level to workfloor. However, this does not mean that it should be a big group!

3) What to Change to?

When the participants have agreed on the common problem(s), we can continue with the next step in the change management process. This step in the process is meant to get agreement on what to change. This means that the participants must get agreement on the criteria of a good solution as well on the direct of the solution.

One must first define the criteria of a good solution in order to establish a common agreed and neutral benchmarking method for evaluation all proposed solutions.

Once the criteria for a good solution have been defined, the next step is coming up with potential solutions to the common agreed problem(s). For this, we will use breakthrough methodologies to map out the potential future situation for each proposed solution. Within this step all objections with regards to each proposed solution must be discussed and when necessary we will modify a proposed solution.

When the participants have agreed upon one or more possible solutions, the negative effects of each solution must be known and understood. Participants may feel that a certain solution might cause damage and/or will have negative ramifications. Using breakthrough methodology we will add these negative ramifications to the potential future situation map to get a full and clear picture of each solution.

4) How to Cause the Change?  

When participants and the organization have agreed on the possible solution, the next step is to get agreement on how to cause the change. In order to implement a change one must eliminate obstacles. These obstacles can be translated into tasks of the implementation plan. So, all obstacles to get the change implemented must be discussed and adressed. Usually, the bigger the change, the more obstacles there will be.

Once all obstacles have been defined, one can sort them in parallel and sequential. When done properly, one has the generic implementation plan, which can be translanted into a PERT Chart.

The next step is to detail out the generic implementation plan with the emphasis not on detailed scheduling but on answering the ‘why’ of each generic task. This will enable to delegate the tasks while at the same time motivating people.

Each implementation plan has its risks, so those must be adresses and discussed as well. The objective is to mitigate those risks and include the mitigating solution(s) in the final implementation plan.


About iCPM Solutions

This is a blog in which I am presenting my thoughts about integrated Constraints-based Performance Management Solutions. I would appreciate any feedback, comments and tips around a topic. I am working on developing a full integrated framework for CPM based on a synthesis of various theories and common best practices. However, the most important inputs will be based on the TOC concepts, since those are dealing with constraints and as we all know constrainst are preventing us from reaching our goals. Hence the reason for the name Constraint-based Performance Management. This blog is part of my website You can reach me through my email, LinkedIn Profile and Website. I hope you all enjoy reading my blogs.
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