Saturday, July 19, 2008



The research paper focuses on Change Management in a creative and innovative manner. The basic concepts of change and change management and its importance in the context of survival and success are addressed. How can we manage the change in the organization smoothly without any resistance is dwelt? The role of managers and leaders in effecting the change and the tools and techniques involved in effecting the same are highlighted. At the end, it has concluded that it is necessary to cultivate positive mindset towards change, as change is the key to survival and success in all spheres.

KEY WORDS: Case Study of Two Frogs, What is Change and Change Management? Importance, Steps for Successful Change Management, Mark Sanborn and Change Management, Why Failure of Change in Organizations? Why do People Resist Change? How to Manage Change? Role of Managers and Leaders, Tools and Techniques for Effective Change Management & Conclusion


“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignoring them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”— Steve Jobs/Apple


Two frogs have been put in two different containers. One container having very hot water and other having water with room temperature where the water was gradually heated. The frog that has been put in hot water suddenly jumped out unable to tolerate the high temperature. The other frog got adjusted and adopted to the slowly rising temperature. From the above case study it is very obvious that any sudden changes cannot be accepted and adopted. On the other hand, if the change is gradual and slow then there will be acceptability and adaptability to change.


Change can be called as the gap between the past and the present and also the gap between the present and the future. And also change is the difference between the status quo and status quo ante. People usually desire change in terms of comfort and convenience but they sternly oppose if the change is in terms of accepting new roles and responsibility, as there is always an apprehension of the unknown and uncertainty. And to manage the same there is need for ‘change management’.

“Change management - is the process of developing a planned approach to change in an organization.” It has been aptly defined that “Change management system is a structured process that will cause proposed changes to be reviewed for technical and business readiness in a consistent manner that can be relaxed or tightened to adjust to business needs and experiences”. In a nutshell, Change Management is the process of planning, organizing, directing controlling, coordinating and implementing the changes related to men, machine, material and money in an organization.


If there were no changes we would have been in the Stone Age itself. Anything routine leads to boredom and monotony. Change brings out the best resulting into creativity. When we do something different that gives us great mental and intellectual satisfaction. Change leads to growth and prosperity. As a human being an individual changes from birth to death and that itself involves lot of changes. Born as a baby, evolving as an adolescent, teenager, middle aged and finally into old age and that comes to the end of the human life cycle.


John Kotter , in his book ‘Leading Change’ (1995) and in his follow-up book ‘The Heart of Change’ (2002) has focused on three approaches to change i.e. seeing, feeling and accepting change by the people. He also came out with 8 steps towards successful change. First one- Increase urgency, Second – Build the guiding team, Third- Get the vision right, Fourth – Communicate for buy-in, Fifth – Empower action, Sixth – Create short-term wins, Seventh – Don’t let-up, Eighth – Make change stick.

Three stages in change management are accepting and adapting to change, controlling and coordinating change, and finally effecting and implementing change.


Mark Sanborn , is a professional speaker in the areas of leadership, change management, customer service and teamwork. He said, “If there's one thing that's constant in life, it's that life is always changing”. He says that it is part of the human nature to resist change and nobody would like to come out of their comfort zones. He clearly says that we should start doing the things. Unless we do we can not come out of the phobia of change. When we start doing the things regularly it becomes habitual and gradually we forget that change is effecting. And whatever we do that must be a regular feature. There must of continuity and consistency in what we do. For instance, when an individual hits gym for a week and neglect further can he/she arrive at the desired results of fitness? Of course, not. Only when the individual hits the gym continuously and consistently for a very long time then can he expect the desired changes in shape and fitness. So is the case of change also.


“I am convinced that if the rate of change within an organization is less than the rate of change outside, the end is near.” — Jack Welch

Mark Sanborn felt that there are various reasons why there is failure of change in organisations. If the changed is not initiated with a right approach or if there is inadequate information about change and if it is implmented in haste then it would result in failure. Change should not be seen as an option but it should be seen as a must. If there is no involvement of the people in the process of change then it is bound to fail miserably. More involvement of outsiders rather than insiders can complicate the process of change. If there is no change in the incentive methods for effecting changes the desired change can not be expected. If there is no firm commitment from leaders and when there is no follow-up then there will be utter failure of change in organisations.

In some cases, failure in an organisation can bring out drastic changes for the progress of the organisation. Failures do occur either due to internal factors or due to external factors. If it happens due to internal factors or forces then the orgnisation has to own the responsibility and chalk out a strategy to set right the things immediately and properly. If the failure occures due to the changes in the external business environment, then efforts should be made to contain the same and navigate the organisation with caution and care. Mr. Mendoza of NetApp, said that during the dotcom bust in 2000, NetApp underwent lot of changes as their revenue shrank from $1 billion to a $250 million. It happened due to the unforeseen changes in the external business environment. The company has overcome this crisis and now it has grown to $4 billion. Mr. Mendoza said, "At the end of the day it comes down to leadership and culture. You can have the best strategy, but if you are asking people to change they have to believe in the change."


“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. A research problem is not solved by apparatus; it is solved in a man’s head. It is not what we know that is important, it is what we do not know.”— Charles Kettering

It is in the human nature to resist change. We encounter stiff resistance to change. It may be due to the apprehension of the unknown, or could just be an internal inertia. And, anything imposed will be opposed. People in the process need to be educated about the niceties of change, for instance, in which way and how does it affect them and also the institution etc., Attitude of the people need to be converted in a proper way so that we will not find any resistance. Nobody would like to come out of their comfort zones. Zig Zigler Zig said, “97 per cent of the people live in the comfort zone and only 3 per cent live in the effective zone.” Most of the successful people live in effective zone which is never comfortable. The moment these people find that the effective zone is becoming comfort zone they gradually swich over to another zone. It is like shifting from one orbit to another. We can observe this attitude among the leaders.

People resist change due to improper information, interaction and communication, inadequate involvement of people, ineffective leadership, improper motivation, lack of courage, improper support, lack of clarity in approach, shortage of skills and knowledge, unable to see big picture, half-hearted approach towards change etc.,

At times we find contradictory approaches among the people. When there is change in their comfort zone they are happy to change but when there is change in effective zone they feel uncomfortable. Changes in designs, styles, features of automobiles, houses, handsets, lifestyles and in various other areas is accepted immediately and why not the same in the area of accepting work, roles and responsibilities? There is always an element of uncertainty in new areas and uncertainity is often risky which might result in emotional disturbances, loss of monetary or disturbance in social, personal and professional life. Likewise, we can ascribe ample of reasons towards restance to change.


One can anticipate both reactive and proactive responses while managing change in an organization with reactive being the most and proactive being the least. There are always two types of people in any organization with one type being proponents to change and the other type being opponents to change. To put it in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“There are always two parties—the party of the past and the party of the future; the establishment and the movement.” Greater efforts are needed to persuade the party of the past rather than the party of the future. Of course, it is well admitted fact that ‘managing change’ is easier said than done.

Proper communication is vital for managing change. Unless people involved in the change process are communicated effectively the desired changes cannot be arrived. Mr.Sumit Chowdhury-CIO Reliance Communications aptly said. "We are making 1400 changes in our system every year, which means 5 changes everyday. It is very important to communicate these changes and IT plays an important role in the communication process”.


“In all of my writing about change I distinguish between bold strokes and long marches. If you have the authority, there are certain things you can do with the stroke of the pen. You can make a decision to open something, close something, lay off workers or make an acquisition. That’s a bold stroke. A long march is leading people in a new direction that changes their behavior, in which they voluntarily begin to act in new ways.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

Both leaders and managers have a vital role to play in effecting the change smoothly in organizations. Usually managers look at the change from short-term perspective where as leaders look at the change from long term perspective. Both have a crucial role to play in this regard. But managers insist on their survival and short-term success and during this process they compromise in bringing out changes with in the establishment. In is in this context, The Dean (David West) aptly quoted, “Managers are not good at managing change. Why? Because most managers are stewards and not leaders. They tend towards security, stability and predictability .”

At times, managers effect change for the sake of executing but not by heart. It will result into failure. On the contrary, the leaders effect change with far sightedness unmindful of temporary implications and complications. Leaders that can challenge, motivate, and empower their teams through change are successful.


· Look at change as a chance to initiate improvements.
· Create a strong faith in the people that change will pave the way for betterment. Hence, it is essential to create trust among the people towards change as trust begets trust which inturn leads to smooth changes.
· It is essential to enlist the support and cooperation of the people as without their active involvement, support and cooperation change cannot be ensured. Annette Simmons rightly said, “People are too complex to understand without their cooperation, and they are too difficult to change without their permission.”
· Let us have a strong feeling that there is always an element of thrill in uncertainty. We have to take change in our stride and grow. If we do not change according to the changing times we lose our relevance.
· Change should be gradual in process.
· Encourage people to overcome from the ‘fear of failure’ and from the ‘fear of criticism’, as these are the stumbling blocks to change.
· Let us realize and accept that change is the law of the nature. Mr.Patkar of NSE said, "NSE has transformed the way people trade in India. Change is the only thing which is constant, if you want to improve and excel in what you are doing."
· Change always triggers creativity and opens the new areas of learning and opportunities.
· Terry Paulson, the author of Paulson on Change, quotes an uncle's advice: "It's easiest to ride a horse in the direction it is going." In other words, don't struggle against change; learn to use it to your advantage.
· Keep your change process continuous and consistent so that you get used to it gradually.
· Look at the scenario from all angles. There are always niceties out of pitfalls. An optimist finds opportunities in threats where as the pessimist finds threats from opportunities. Therefore, always try to be an optimist and grab the hidden opportunities.
· Avoid the mindset that change is always is risky. If there were no changes we would not have grown as a human civilization.
· Creation of psychological ambience is essential.
· Always present the clear and constructive picture for an effective change.
· Be prepared to get into effective zone round the clock because the present competitive world demands the same.
· Be confident and positive. Have gut feeling and believe in yourself.
· Try to develop flexibility and adaptability.
· Always consider others.
· Never resist change. We would like to change our clothes, foods, and places and would like to have lot of variety in our life. Then why should we say ‘No’ to change? Are we hypocrites?
· Always look at the big picture, as it would focus both problems and prospects, which will help, take the right decision towards change-centric.
· Don’t become a change-phobic person.
· Learn to live with the realities. It is vital to know that only change is constant in this world.
· Accept the changes wholeheartedly. Don’t treat it as an enemy rather treat it as a friend. You will know that there would be more opportunities in disguise.


“It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

Always be prepared for change and be change-inclined rather than change-resistant. Let us open up our minds to acquire knowledge. Over a period of time the acquired knowledge should pave the way for new knowledge that helps us in applying new tools and techniques for prosperity and development. To sum up, let us cultivate positive mindset towards change and also let us realize that only thing constant in this world is ‘change’.


1 comment:

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