In today’s tumultuous economy, organizations are aggressively looking for ways of remaining competitive. Organizations have employed a variety of different to achieve or maintain their competency in their respective market segments, including staff reductions and organizational restructuring. More often, these strategies do not yield the expected results. Simply put, most organizations do not know how to get their staff ready to handle change projects. For this reason, organizations should devise a reasonable and workable plan to set the stage for these forthcoming improvements. The plan should help affected organization managers, employees, and customers to better embrace the forthcoming change implementation.
The objective of this paper is to produce a plan that will prepare staff for forthcoming IT improvements and hence reduce resistance to new and vital efforts aimed at improving the performance of our organization.
Implementing a successful change
The success of any organization at implementing a change strategy mainly depends on how it prepares for the change. Success requires that the organization use the skills and talents at its disposal optimally throughout the process, however, two core factors must be taken into consideration: instituting the right leadership team and an assessment of the organizations’ readiness to accept the impending change. Technology changes or improvements such as in the IT sector are normally seen as a reserve for the technology staff only (Bernerth, 2004). The rest of the staff normally feel disconnected from tech changes. To make staff accept forthcoming IT improvements and reduce their resistance to the changes, the first step is to set a clear direction from the top management. When the rest of the staff sees that the top-level management is dedicated to the change, they too will realize the significance of the change and adopt it. Hence, the first step in ensuring that future changes and improvements will be adopted in the selection of a team to prepare staff for the changes.
Choosing the Right Team
The change management team will be made up of three major persons: the initiative leader, a process director, and a change coach. Each of these group leaders will have clearly defined tasks and responsibilities. Together, they will set the change process into motion, evaluate the progress made, document and make reports about the change, lessen resistance to the change, and handle any questions or clarifications arising out of the same (Cummings and Worley, 2005). The members of this team will be chosen on their ability to create answers to pertinent questions that may hinder the adoption of future IT upgrades, their knack to think freely and come up with a viable decision, and their ability to succeed in a disorderly situation. Consequently, a majority of the members of the team will have to be knowledgeable in IT concepts so they can explain various elements of the change plan to other staff (Armenakis et al, 1999). As evident, the selection process of the members of the change management team will be very rigorous to ensure that only the best are chosen due to the importance of this in the initial process.
During the team’s activities, a problem may arise as different departments within the organization may move through the change process at varying paces. This irregularity can lead to low morale, lowered work efficiencies, and as aforementioned, disruption of the whole process, even if significant progress has been made. Departmental leaders may also attempt to protect their departments from future changes and this may be detrimental to the success of the team and the impending changes in general. The solution to these problems is to consider hiring persons that do not belong to our organization. Hiring external consultants will ensure that there is no biasness in the activities of the tactical change management team and lowers the tendency toward ‘protectionism’ (Armenakis and Bedeiam, 1999). Besides, since they have only one objective, external consultants can deliver results within a shorter time. Hence, our tactical change management team will be selected from external consultants and will be chosen through a rigorous bid procedure. The responsibilities of the core members of the team will be as follows:
The Initiative Leader: He/she controls all aspects of the project and guides all other members of the group to ensure that every member remains focused on the teams’ objective. The initiative leader also ensures that every person and department progresses at the right speed so that the project fulfills its goals. The initiative leader should preferably be someone from outside the organization so that a conflict-of-interest situation does not arise, especially where the person has been seeing to aiming for a top position within the organization. The initiative leader will be recruited from external consultants (Armenakis and Harris, 2002).
The Process Director: The person holding this position majorly handles details of the improvement process. He/she works with departments, staff, customers, and vendors all through the process. Other roles include coordinating activities that accompany the change process, supervising activities and assessing their progress, keeping records, and making sure that the approach is consistent with the organizational requirements. The position requires a deep knowledge of our organization’s culture, hence, he/she will be appointed from our organization.
Change Coach: The change coach will prepare staff for any future IT changes in our organization. Just as the name hints, this person will coach staff on the intended changes, how respective staff will be affected, and how the changes will improve the organization’s performance. He/she will ensure that every member of the organization comprehends the objective of the improvement initiative so that the time for the change comes, there will be little or no resistance. In other words, he sells the initiative to the staff. Consequently, the person chosen for this position must have the reverence of the staff and must be able to sell the motivation behind the improvement and the benefits of the initiative (Ruben, 2004). He/she identifies any sources of resistance and finds acceptable solutions, in addition to monitoring the strain of the change on the organization and devising ways of rewarding workers who opt to adopt the changes. Lastly, he/she ensures that the organization’s values goals are maintained and aligned during the change process and after the change is implemented. This position requires a deep understanding of the organization’s culture, hence the change coach will be selected from our staff.
Assessing Readiness for Change
An assessment of the readiness for change must be done so that potential sources of resistance can be ironed out. However, since the change process must first be adopted by the senior management, readiness for change assessment must first be conducted on the senior staff. This will be followed by an assessment of the rest of the staff. Whenever any group will be observed not to be ready for change, the sources of the resistance will be determined and attempts made to clear out any issues. At the end of this process, the affected organization managers and employees will be ready to better embrace the forthcoming change implementation.
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Armenakis, A. A., Harris, S. G., and Field, H. S. (1999). Making change permanent: A model for institutionalizing change interventions. Research in Organizational Change and Development 12: 97-128.
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Ruben, B. D. (2004). Pursuing excellence in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.