No one like changing their habits, life-style, the way they do things at their workplace or a structuring process in a company, government department or learning institution. Especially if they have been doing the way they do things for a very long time and see no reason why the change should occur!
In life-style changes, the process is on a personal level. It takes a lot of will power to change bad habits. Sometimes a spiritual renewal process may assist in changing one’s life-style and bad habits.
Changes to companies, government departments or learning institutions is a much tougher process. And the people who oversee changes in these organisations or departments need more than a strong will power and a spiritual awakening. They have to be aware of people’s feelings towards the changes, they need to have the assistance of senior personal in their departments/organisations/institutions (since it is usually the senior personal who hate being moved from their comfort zone) and they need to make sure that they are on the same wave length with most of the people who are going to be affected by the change. I also think having skills in handling human relations is also a key to effecting change.
There are different models that are used to bring about change. I will list the steps to bring about change using the model by Kotter (1996).
- Establish a sense of urgency.
- Create a group or groups of key people in the organisation that will form a coalition to guide and effect the change.
- Develop a vision and strategy. This will include the vision statement. The guiding coalition formed earlier may be used to develop this vision and formulate the strategy.
- Let everyone know the change vision.
- Identify resources to support ongoing activities to implement the vision strategies.
- Generate short-term gains to see how the change process is progressing.
- Consolidate the gains made during the change process to produce more change.
- Anchor these changes in the work culture so that it becomes a normal part of doing business.
I have listed as very general steps but I think they can be adapted to any situation.
Having talked about bringing about change, I think I should also say that bringing about change is probably not the most challenging part of the process but managing the change daily in the long term is the most difficult. And will determine whether the outcome of the change is a positive one or a negative one.