Truth About Thriving in Change (Truth About Series)

( 1 )

Overview

Praise for The Truth About Thriving in Change

“Although we know that change is constant, we are always surprised by it. Bill provides a roadmap to successfully navigate corporate change. Being conscientious to follow the ‘Truths’ will enable people to successfully face any organizational challenge.”

Rosina Racioppi, President and Chief Operating Officer, WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.

"A must read for managers, Bill uses language with care, economy, and precision. Managing change is ...

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Overview

Praise for The Truth About Thriving in Change

“Although we know that change is constant, we are always surprised by it. Bill provides a roadmap to successfully navigate corporate change. Being conscientious to follow the ‘Truths’ will enable people to successfully face any organizational challenge.”

Rosina Racioppi, President and Chief Operating Officer, WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.

"A must read for managers, Bill uses language with care, economy, and precision. Managing change is basically about helping people deal with uncertainty. This writing effectively uses a combination of practical experience, common sense, and humor in describing strategies designed to achieve desired results while maintaining morale and enhancing engagement."

Michael Mimnaugh, Vice President, Human Resources, Sony Corporation of America

"Many students are under the impression that a graduate degree will impart all wisdom, but what they fail to recognize is that there is no substitute for experience. What Bill's book does so well is to impart his substantial experience--along with the textbook knowledge--to move you ahead in your career. If you manage people or projects, the wisdom found within each 'Truth' will help keep you on the leading edge of your profession. This is a reference guide that belongs in your library."

Stuart J. Lipper, Senior Director of MBA Programs, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Everything you need to know to drive and sustain successful change...what really works!

· The truth about transforming organizations without destroying morale

· The truth about why your way may not be the best way

· The truth about creating a cultural framework for long-term success

This book reveals 49 PROVEN CHANGE MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES and bite-size, easy-to-use techniques that work

This book brings together 49 powerful “truths” about planning, driving, and sustaining organizational change: real solutions for the tough challenges faced by every business leader. You'll discover which skills you need most, and how to develop them...how to lead change without eroding employee motivation, commitment, and productivity...why you must start fast, and "run before you walk"...when to persuade, when to educate, and when to "use force"...how to make the change agenda everyone's agenda...and how to create the right cultural framework for successful change. This isn't "someone's opinion." It's a definitive, evidence-based guide to effective change leadership--a set of bedrock principles you can rely on throughout your entire management career.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132354622
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Series: Truth About Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William S. Kane is a highly accomplished human resources executive with experience in all aspects of global functional management. He has specific expertise in leading, planning, and executing the human capital strategy associated with profitable business transformations, including startups, large-scale mergers and acquisitions, and enterprise-wide stabilization and repositioning.

Bill has held senior positions for a variety of multinational industrial leaders, such as International Flavors and Fragrances Inc., Electrolux/ Frigidaire, and FMC Corporation...companies with sales volumes ranging from $250 million to $17 billion, with more than 100,000 employees. He’s presently the vice president of human resources and general administration for Kyowa Pharmaceutical in Princeton, NJ.

Bill is an adjunct professor in the MAOB graduate-level certificate program in leadership studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as a frequent guest lecturer at Montclair State University and at Rutgers University. His professional memberships include the New Jersey Human Resources Planning Group (NJHRPG), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the national Academy of Management (AOM). He’s also a mentor in the nationally recognized leadership program for Women Unlimited and in the Beyond the Banks executive program at Rutgers College.

Bill’s perspective on matters of corporate responsibility and human resources has been featured in USA Today, National Business Employment Weekly, and The Financial Times. He has also appeared at New Jersey gubernatorial press conferences, New Jersey congressional hearings, and at forums sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Labor and the New Jersey Network.

Bill is currently studying for his Ph.D. in human and organization development at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. As an extension of his academic efforts, Bill has collaborated with John Wooden, UCLA’s Coach Emeritus, and Andy Hill, authors of the best-selling book Be Quick But Don’t Hurry, to create and conduct management training seminars for corporate clients, civic groups, and students seeking to lead their teams toward optimized and sustained performance (www.woodenwayleadership.com).

Bill holds three master’s degrees: an MA from Fielding in human and organization development, and an MBA in management and an MA in organizational psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers College. Bill is a resident of Westfield, New Jersey. He may be contacted at wmskane@aol.com.

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Read an Excerpt

PrefaceThe Truth About Thriving in Change

HR Leaders

"A must read for managers, Bill uses language with care, economy, and precision. Managing change is basically about helping people deal with uncertainty. This writing effectively uses a combination of practical experience, common sense, and humor in describing strategies designed to achieve desired results while maintaining morale and enhancing engagement."

Michael Mimnaugh, Vice President, Human Resources,
Sony Corporation of America

"Challenging long-accepted common sense, the 'Truths' will cause all of us involved with managing change to look in the mirror—and certainly to get away from our desks."

Patricia Kelly Schmitt, Vice President, Human Resources,
Global Animal Health and Consumer HealthCare,
Schering-Plough Corporation

"This book is truly a practical resource for leaders on how to handle the multitude of personal and professional challenges faced by managers every day. The content is well organized in a logical, easy-to-use format with each truth presented in a bite-sized, easily digested segment. I would recommend this book to managers searching for 'Truths' on how to enhance their effectiveness in constantly changing business environments."

Thomas G. Moran, Vice President, Human Resources,
Thomson Publishing

"To be inspiring, to be tough and empathic, to set a vision, and to move an organization toward audacious goals is frightening and often overwhelming. This page-turner takes the essentials and breaks the process into 49 Truths—easy to adopt behaviors and watch-outs—that are easy to read, remember, and bring to life daily."

Dede LaMarche, US HR Business Partner,
FMC Agricultural Products Group

Academia

"This book is about a set of propositions that you, as a leader, can call on for all occasions dealing with the management of change. Bill has organized the collective wisdom, stated in the form of 'Truths', which can guide novices, seasoned corporate veterans, and those of us in the midst of organization transitions. You will be able to compare your ideas with concise and precisely stated maxims that will stimulate you to become even more articulate about developing your own versions of the 'Truths' about change. That is worth the price of admission!"

Charles Seashore, Ph.D., Professor, Fielding Graduate University

"Many students are under the impression that a graduate degree will impart all wisdom, but what they fail to recognize is that there is no substitute for experience. What Bill's book does so well is to impart his substantial experience—along with the textbook knowledge—to move you ahead in your career. If you manage people or projects, the wisdom found within each 'Truth' will help keep you on the leading edge of your profession. This is a reference guide that belongs in your library."

Stuart J. Lipper, Senior Director of MBA Programs,
Rutgers Business School, Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey

Business/Human Resources Consultants

"This is a worthwhile read for any and all managers. It flows topically and builds in an integrated fashion. The format is reader-friendly and the messages are 'tried and true,' while avoiding the usual boilerplate platitudes. You cannot help but come away with some ideas on how to improve your change management skills."

Robert M. Marino, President, Alpha Nouveau Consulting, Inc.

"With business acumen, a human resources perspective, and behavioral research as the writing's fundamental underpinnings, this book quenches the long and desperate thirst of managers in the corporate community on how to lead a team through the sometimes-dizzying maze of change."

William D. Cassidy III, Ph.D., President,
Human Resources International LLC

"Anyone interested in changing people and changing organizations will want this book in their library. It provides important insights into organizations and their need for change, yet recognizes that authentic change comes from within people. Only by changing people can we change organizations. Bill provides valuable discussion of the information, decision criteria, and tools needed to accelerate the change process. Its power lies in its simplicity, accessibility, and pragmatism."

Richard W. Beatty, Ph.D., Coauthor of The Workforce Scorecard

"Rooted in research and personal experience, Bill's writing is true to its purpose—offering a therapeutic blend of wisdom, compassion, and highly practical application that will undoubtedly help leaders overcome what ails them and their organizations, and allow them not just to survive but to thrive in continuous change."

Laurie Murphy, President, PeopleAreKey, Inc.

Training and Development Practitioners

"Years of designing and delivering training programs have taught me that managers value short, practical guides to various subjects. They will not be disappointed here. The 'Truths'—and their practicality—are an ideal basis for personal effectiveness enhancement or leadership development."

David J. Owen, Vice President, Global Learning & Development,
International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.

"Although we know that change is constant, we are always surprised by it. Bill provides a roadmap to successfully navigate corporate change. Being conscientious to follow the 'Truths' will enable people to successfully face any organizational challenge."

Rosina Racioppi, President and Chief Operating Officer,
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.

Operations/Manufacturing/General Management

"Having been involved over my 33 year career with 7 different companies that were experiencing significant change, 5 of which I was CEO, I related to the 'Truths.' I especially enjoyed the brevity and clarity in which the points were made. It functions more like a guide, providing straightforward examples that drive the point and makes for easy reading and future referral."

Brian Fitzpatrick, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Bentley Labs LLC

"Bill clearly demonstrates that successful change doesn't come in a can; he provides practical tools and sound advice that can be applied to achieve the desired results of any change effort."

Mike Ruiz, Director of Process Integration, North Jersey Media Group

Preface

As a human resources practitioner, I have been fortunate in my 25-year career to be a student, participant, and leader of successful organizational change. And while the environments and industries have been diverse, my observations about these processes have yielded a common theme. For organizational change to have the highest probability for success, on any scale, management must clearly identify and align the vision, strategy, tactics, and collective values of the organization—as the catalysts and cornerstones of the desired end state.

Done properly, management can help organizational participants embrace change processes for the enterprise to be merged, stabilized, started up, or repositioned in a way to satisfy most stakeholders in a relatively condensed timeframe.

Less than optimal direction setting or poor execution leads to an erosion of employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. Commitment falls by the side, goal attainment becomes elusive, and everyone is running for the lifeboats.

This writing offers guidance and hope for managers trying to keep their head above water in times of rising tides by dispelling organizational myths and providing practical advice for the newly appointed supervisor, as well as the seasoned corporate veteran. It includes a combination of "tried-and-true" success stories, lessons learned from failures, "how-to" human resources advice, related anecdotes, and research from contemporary thought leaders about large and small-scale organizational change.

The ideas presented in this book aren't mutually exclusive, but they're universally applicable. Stylistically, some Truths are more conceptual, while others—with more comprehensive "to-do's"—should satisfy the most demanding pragmatists.

As a framework, I recognize that my professional experiences will not mirror yours, because every individual and organization is unique. However, I am confident that this writing can help you avoid a few bumps and foster your own individual capabilities for managing optimal and sustained performance.

Enjoy!

What is organizational change?

Coaching third-grade soccer is hard. It requires skills assessment, planning, discipline, and coordination. It involves blending talents and teaching the players to fight their natural tendency to chase the ball all at once. Plays must be carefully scripted and yet have allowances for some individual improvisation.

As the coach, it requires personal investment, energy, and patience. It causes you to keep fingers crossed with hope and an aspirin bottle nearby for frustration. However, there is no more enjoyable reward than watching the ball sail into the back of your opponent's net.

Organizational change shares all these characteristics, with some additional complexities. It's an ongoing journey with multiple destinations and no real endpoint. It's characterized by multiple contradictions—the need to balance a short- and long-term per-spective; the need to blend or select conservative and liberal points of view; the ability to be objective when analyzing subjective matters; the talent to have patience when time is of the essence; and the ability to let go of old practices, processes, and mindsets while gravitating toward new ones.

For the purposes of this writing, managing change is the all-encompassing process by which you confront or overcome challenges or seize new opportunities by perpetually transforming the organization from its current state to a state deemed more desirable through tapping new or improved ideas, suggestions, and processes, and applying them toward previously unrealized potential.

The mantra of organizational change is "better, faster, and cheaper." Its three most important elements are speed, speed, and more speed.

The benefits of organizational change

Change, even for the sake of change, can have many benefits beyond process improvements, market share enhancement, or greater profitability. It offers individual and collective learning opportunities. It may also heighten employee engagement and interest in work, thus increasing productivity and job satisfaction. Likewise, employees will have a greater sense of pride and ownership if they participate.

What's different today?

Every generation has its business and economic challenges. The dialogue in today's corporate boardrooms and its ripple effect to the shop floors about the need for change is dramatically different and far more complex than it was even ten years ago.

First and foremost, bottom-line performance continues to be a mandate.

Second, the means to attain positive results is critical as stakeholders are demanding that ethics and organizational values be communicated and adhered to within an organization—at all levels and at all times. This includes having appropriate checks and balances (Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.) established for all aspects of corporate governance and policy.

Third, organizational leaders must be students of current events as the breadth and depth of issues to be considered, planned for, and reacted to expand on a global basis in real-time. Concerns about international political and economic instability have broad business implications.

Fourth, within domestic borders, organizational leaders must grapple with uncertainty in stock market valuations; quarter-to-quarter performance pressures; political, societal, and demographic shifts; technology changes; and inflationary concerns.

These changes—and others across the world and in our backyard— are happening faster and harder than ever, making related organi-zational change the primary and continuous challenge for all man-agement. It takes real focus and fortitude to survive, much less prosper.

Is the time right?

Is the time ever right? In The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople, Stephen Covey speaks of a trap that often proves too attractive for many to resist. It seems a lumberjack had been working feverishly to cut down a large tree; however, he made only limited progress in several hours. When asked by a passerby why he did not take the time to sharpen the blade—to speed along his endeavor—the lumberjack replied that he was too busy sawing. Managing organizational change is a continual sharpening of the saw.

Is there a checklist you can follow?

Leading and managing change is about

  • Your commitment
  • Identifying the cause of and the need for change by analyzing your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)
  • Providing inspirational answers to "Why are we here?" "Where are we going?" "What needs to be accomplished?" and "How will we accomplish these objectives?"
  • Creating your cultural and operating framework with the identification and inculcation of organizational values and desirable behaviors
  • Treating everyone with respect and dignity
  • Aligning people with purpose by getting the right person in the right place at the right time
  • Managing performance
  • Tracking progress
  • Making every day better than the last

...and doing all of these things with proactive communication while wearing the hat of parent, teacher, field general, minister, confidante, coach, friend, referee, psychologist, and principal.

Is it fun?

Like a roller-coaster ride, the answer to this question largely depends on individual perspective. On the one hand, it's an exciting and invigorating process to lead, participate in, or have a fingerprint upon a process that raises the organization's collective ability to be more effective and efficient, and therefore, more competitive and viable. However, like many objectives worth working toward, such rewards can be attained only through what is likely to be a challenging and sometimes painful and difficult journey.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I The Truth About Staying or Going

Truth 1 Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react 1

Truth 2 If your values don’t agree, it’s probably time to flee 5

Truth 3 Service awards aren’t what they used to be 9

Truth 4 Teaching long division doesn’t work on a Blackberry 13

Part II The Truth About What You should Pack

Truth 5 It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you need 17

Truth 6 To manage change, you must lead change 21

Truth 7 You can’t do without a “can-do” attitude 25

Truth 8 If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything 29

Part III The Truth About those Early Days

Truth 9 Run before you walk 33

Truth 10 Keep your boss your biggest fan 37

Truth 11 There are only three ways to introduce change 41

Truth 12 Build the case: It’s a challenge and an opportunity 45

Truth 13 Teach others how to treat you 49

Part IV The Truth About Planning

Truth 14 If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll get there 53

Truth 15 To realize the future, you must create it 57

Truth 16 Convert aspiration to invitation 61

Truth 17 Having organizational values matters; living then means more 65

Truth 18 Make the change agenda everyone’s agenda 69

Part V The Truth About Communications

Truth 19 We listen with our eyes 73

Truth 20 Email is the tool of the devil 77

Truth 21 People can’t drink from a fire hose 81

Truth 22 Conversion is for missionaries and crusaders 85

Part VI The Truth About Matching People with Purpose

Truth 23 Organizational structure: Look in from the outside 89

Truth 24 Build your team around your “A” players 93

Truth 25 Candidate screening: Let the facts speak for themselves 97

Truth 26 Avoid the ten potential “placement pitfalls” 101

Truth 27 Don't surround yourself with yourself 105

Truth 28 Why you need to get staffing right 109

Truth 29 If you must “right-size,” do it the right way 113

Part VII The Truth About Managing Performance

Truth 30 One style doesn’t fit all 117

Truth 31 You can influence without authority 121

Truth 32 You can’t work the plan if you don’t plan the work 125

Truth 33 There’s no excuse for excuses 129

Truth 34 Know what buttons to push 133

Part VIII The Truth About Creating your Cultural Framework

Truth 35 Calm waters make for easier sailing 137

Truth 36 Trust is a currency not easily earned, but easily spent 141

Truth 37 If you’re out of sight, you’re probably out of touch 145

Truth 38 Teams aren’t a necessary evil 149

Truth 39 Your way may not be the best way 153

Truth 40 The whole is greater than the sum of the parts 157

Truth 41 Embrace[md]don’t run from[md]the questions! 161

Truth 42 Decision making: The fastest don’t always finish first 165

Truth 43 Exceptions: Can’t live with them; can’t live without them 169

Truth 44 Employee discipline: Ask the more meaningful question 173

Part IX The Truth About Recognition and Reward

Truth 45 Make every employee feel like your only employee 177

Truth 46 A little formal recognition goes a long way 181

Part X The Truth About Sustenance

Truth 47 Your best investment is in[el] YOU 185

Truth 48 Your title is manager; your job is teacher 189

Truth 49 Trying to be all things to all people is a slippery slope 193

References 197

About the Author 211

Read More Show Less

Preface

The Truth About Thriving in Change

HR Leaders

"A must read for managers, Bill uses language with care, economy, and precision. Managing change is basically about helping people deal with uncertainty. This writing effectively uses a combination of practical experience, common sense, and humor in describing strategies designed to achieve desired results while maintaining morale and enhancing engagement."

Michael Mimnaugh, Vice President, Human Resources,
Sony Corporation of America

"Challenging long-accepted common sense, the 'Truths' will cause all of us involved with managing change to look in the mirror—and certainly to get away from our desks."

Patricia Kelly Schmitt, Vice President, Human Resources,
Global Animal Health and Consumer HealthCare,
Schering-Plough Corporation

"This book is truly a practical resource for leaders on how to handle the multitude of personal and professional challenges faced by managers every day. The content is well organized in a logical, easy-to-use format with each truth presented in a bite-sized, easily digested segment. I would recommend this book to managers searching for 'Truths' on how to enhance their effectiveness in constantly changing business environments."

Thomas G. Moran, Vice President, Human Resources,
Thomson Publishing

"To be inspiring, to be tough and empathic, to set a vision, and to move an organization toward audacious goals is frightening and often overwhelming. This page-turner takes the essentials and breaks the process into 49 Truths—easy to adopt behaviors and watch-outs—that are easy to read, remember, and bring to life daily."

Dede LaMarche, US HR Business Partner,
FMC Agricultural Products Group

Academia

"This book is about a set of propositions that you, as a leader, can call on for all occasions dealing with the management of change. Bill has organized the collective wisdom, stated in the form of 'Truths', which can guide novices, seasoned corporate veterans, and those of us in the midst of organization transitions. You will be able to compare your ideas with concise and precisely stated maxims that will stimulate you to become even more articulate about developing your own versions of the 'Truths' about change. That is worth the price of admission!"

Charles Seashore, Ph.D., Professor, Fielding Graduate University

"Many students are under the impression that a graduate degree will impart all wisdom, but what they fail to recognize is that there is no substitute for experience. What Bill's book does so well is to impart his substantial experience—along with the textbook knowledge—to move you ahead in your career. If you manage people or projects, the wisdom found within each 'Truth' will help keep you on the leading edge of your profession. This is a reference guide that belongs in your library."

Stuart J. Lipper, Senior Director of MBA Programs,
Rutgers Business School, Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey

Business/Human Resources Consultants

"This is a worthwhile read for any and all managers. It flows topically and builds in an integrated fashion. The format is reader-friendly and the messages are 'tried and true,' while avoiding the usual boilerplate platitudes. You cannot help but come away with some ideas on how to improve your change management skills."

Robert M. Marino, President, Alpha Nouveau Consulting, Inc.

"With business acumen, a human resources perspective, and behavioral research as the writing's fundamental underpinnings, this book quenches the long and desperate thirst of managers in the corporate community on how to lead a team through the sometimes-dizzying maze of change."

William D. Cassidy III, Ph.D., President,
Human Resources International LLC

"Anyone interested in changing people and changing organizations will want this book in their library. It provides important insights into organizations and their need for change, yet recognizes that authentic change comes from within people. Only by changing people can we change organizations. Bill provides valuable discussion of the information, decision criteria, and tools needed to accelerate the change process. Its power lies in its simplicity, accessibility, and pragmatism."

Richard W. Beatty, Ph.D., Coauthor of The Workforce Scorecard

"Rooted in research and personal experience, Bill's writing is true to its purpose—offering a therapeutic blend of wisdom, compassion, and highly practical application that will undoubtedly help leaders overcome what ails them and their organizations, and allow them not just to survive but to thrive in continuous change."

Laurie Murphy, President, PeopleAreKey, Inc.

Training and Development Practitioners

"Years of designing and delivering training programs have taught me that managers value short, practical guides to various subjects. They will not be disappointed here. The 'Truths'—and their practicality—are an ideal basis for personal effectiveness enhancement or leadership development."

David J. Owen, Vice President, Global Learning & Development,
International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.

"Although we know that change is constant, we are always surprised by it. Bill provides a roadmap to successfully navigate corporate change. Being conscientious to follow the 'Truths' will enable people to successfully face any organizational challenge."

Rosina Racioppi, President and Chief Operating Officer,
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.

Operations/Manufacturing/General Management

"Having been involved over my 33 year career with 7 different companies that were experiencing significant change, 5 of which I was CEO, I related to the 'Truths.' I especially enjoyed the brevity and clarity in which the points were made. It functions more like a guide, providing straightforward examples that drive the point and makes for easy reading and future referral."

Brian Fitzpatrick, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Bentley Labs LLC

"Bill clearly demonstrates that successful change doesn't come in a can; he provides practical tools and sound advice that can be applied to achieve the desired results of any change effort."

Mike Ruiz, Director of Process Integration, North Jersey Media Group

Preface

As a human resources practitioner, I have been fortunate in my 25-year career to be a student, participant, and leader of successful organizational change. And while the environments and industries have been diverse, my observations about these processes have yielded a common theme. For organizational change to have the highest probability for success, on any scale, management must clearly identify and align the vision, strategy, tactics, and collective values of the organization—as the catalysts and cornerstones of the desired end state.

Done properly, management can help organizational participants embrace change processes for the enterprise to be merged, stabilized, started up, or repositioned in a way to satisfy most stakeholders in a relatively condensed timeframe.

Less than optimal direction setting or poor execution leads to an erosion of employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. Commitment falls by the side, goal attainment becomes elusive, and everyone is running for the lifeboats.

This writing offers guidance and hope for managers trying to keep their head above water in times of rising tides by dispelling organizational myths and providing practical advice for the newly appointed supervisor, as well as the seasoned corporate veteran. It includes a combination of "tried-and-true" success stories, lessons learned from failures, "how-to" human resources advice, related anecdotes, and research from contemporary thought leaders about large and small-scale organizational change.

The ideas presented in this book aren't mutually exclusive, but they're universally applicable. Stylistically, some Truths are more conceptual, while others—with more comprehensive "to-do's"—should satisfy the most demanding pragmatists.

As a framework, I recognize that my professional experiences will not mirror yours, because every individual and organization is unique. However, I am confident that this writing can help you avoid a few bumps and foster your own individual capabilities for managing optimal and sustained performance.

Enjoy!

What is organizational change?

Coaching third-grade soccer is hard. It requires skills assessment, planning, discipline, and coordination. It involves blending talents and teaching the players to fight their natural tendency to chase the ball all at once. Plays must be carefully scripted and yet have allowances for some individual improvisation.

As the coach, it requires personal investment, energy, and patience. It causes you to keep fingers crossed with hope and an aspirin bottle nearby for frustration. However, there is no more enjoyable reward than watching the ball sail into the back of your opponent's net.

Organizational change shares all these characteristics, with some additional complexities. It's an ongoing journey with multiple destinations and no real endpoint. It's characterized by multiple contradictions—the need to balance a short- and long-term per-spective; the need to blend or select conservative and liberal points of view; the ability to be objective when analyzing subjective matters; the talent to have patience when time is of the essence; and the ability to let go of old practices, processes, and mindsets while gravitating toward new ones.

For the purposes of this writing, managing change is the all-encompassing process by which you confront or overcome challenges or seize new opportunities by perpetually transforming the organization from its current state to a state deemed more desirable through tapping new or improved ideas, suggestions, and processes, and applying them toward previously unrealized potential.

The mantra of organizational change is "better, faster, and cheaper." Its three most important elements are speed, speed, and more speed.

The benefits of organizational change

Change, even for the sake of change, can have many benefits beyond process improvements, market share enhancement, or greater profitability. It offers individual and collective learning opportunities. It may also heighten employee engagement and interest in work, thus increasing productivity and job satisfaction. Likewise, employees will have a greater sense of pride and ownership if they participate.

What's different today?

Every generation has its business and economic challenges. The dialogue in today's corporate boardrooms and its ripple effect to the shop floors about the need for change is dramatically different and far more complex than it was even ten years ago.

First and foremost, bottom-line performance continues to be a mandate.

Second, the means to attain positive results is critical as stakeholders are demanding that ethics and organizational values be communicated and adhered to within an organization—at all levels and at all times. This includes having appropriate checks and balances (Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.) established for all aspects of corporate governance and policy.

Third, organizational leaders must be students of current events as the breadth and depth of issues to be considered, planned for, and reacted to expand on a global basis in real-time. Concerns about international political and economic instability have broad business implications.

Fourth, within domestic borders, organizational leaders must grapple with uncertainty in stock market valuations; quarter-to-quarter performance pressures; political, societal, and demographic shifts; technology changes; and inflationary concerns.

These changes—and others across the world and in our backyard— are happening faster and harder than ever, making related organi-zational change the primary and continuous challenge for all man-agement. It takes real focus and fortitude to survive, much less prosper.

Is the time right?

Is the time ever right? In The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople, Stephen Covey speaks of a trap that often proves too attractive for many to resist. It seems a lumberjack had been working feverishly to cut down a large tree; however, he made only limited progress in several hours. When asked by a passerby why he did not take the time to sharpen the blade—to speed along his endeavor—the lumberjack replied that he was too busy sawing. Managing organizational change is a continual sharpening of the saw.

Is there a checklist you can follow?

Leading and managing change is about

  • Your commitment
  • Identifying the cause of and the need for change by analyzing your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)
  • Providing inspirational answers to "Why are we here?" "Where are we going?" "What needs to be accomplished?" and "How will we accomplish these objectives?"
  • Creating your cultural and operating framework with the identification and inculcation of organizational values and desirable behaviors
  • Treating everyone with respect and dignity
  • Aligning people with purpose by getting the right person in the right place at the right time
  • Managing performance
  • Tracking progress
  • Making every day better than the last

...and doing all of these things with proactive communication while wearing the hat of parent, teacher, field general, minister, confidante, coach, friend, referee, psychologist, and principal.

Is it fun?

Like a roller-coaster ride, the answer to this question largely depends on individual perspective. On the one hand, it's an exciting and invigorating process to lead, participate in, or have a fingerprint upon a process that raises the organization's collective ability to be more effective and efficient, and therefore, more competitive and viable. However, like many objectives worth working toward, such rewards can be attained only through what is likely to be a challenging and sometimes painful and difficult journey.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Popular precepts for business change

    In business, change is constant. Yet many companies resist it or fail to prepare for it properly. To help remedy this problem, leadership consultant William S. Kane takes established "truths" about how to create meaningful corporate change and attempts to bolt them together in a leadership guide. How did he do? The author gets high marks for his extensive research and excellent sources, including numerous business bestsellers and high-profile contemporary studies of change management, corporate performance and productivity. Despite this hard work, the book tends to be very repetitive and breaks little new ground with its prescriptions: "Have a vision." "Demonstrate commitment." "Develop strategic objectives." "Create coalitions." "Manage performance." "Communicate clearly." While such mileposts may be basic, getAbstract suggests that they will be quite useful to those who want a rundown on the tenets of change management.

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