Constant change as normality can be safely modeled by everyone of us in daily life. It gets always faster, unpredictable, complex and takes place at the same time, above all, and in different dimensions. The complexity of the environment is influenced for example by the long ever-increasing globalization, the development of information technology, biotechnology or the demography.
If we take a look back into the last century, especially the financial sector gained outstanding importance and had to deal with many changes. After the tremendous rise of the Internet companies the bursting of the New Economy bubble arrived soon and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York has shaken the world. The subsequent economic recession was countered by expansionary monetary policy to stimulate the economy, but in the end even this process has led to turbulence. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a fundamental financial and economic crisis. Currently, the worldwide debt crisis shakes the whole world and it is thought hard about the euro system.
All these happenings force companies to adapt to changes in environmental conditions. However, these adjustments can sometimes be very severe and painful for companies and the involved individuals. One consequence is usually a damage in the performance and productivity of the entire organization. The economic objective of Change Management is to shorten the period between the detected necessarity of change and the acceptance of the new guidelines.
Change is a Process
Change occurs as a process, not as an event. Organizational change does not happen instantaneously because there was an announcement, a kick-off meeting or even a go-live date. Individuals do not change simply because they received an email or attended a training program. When we experience change, we move from what we had known and done, through a period of transition to arrive at a desired new way of behaving and doing our job.
It is easy to see changes in nature occurring as a process. Whether it is a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, or winter shifting into spring, we can easily appreciate the process of change. But when we begin changing our organization with projects and initiatives, we often forget the fact that change does not happen instantaneously. The easiest, most basic approach to understanding change as a process is to break change down into distinct, understandable elements. The three states of change provide a powerful framework: the Current State, the Transition State and the Future State.
- The Current State is how things are done today. It is the collection of processes, behaviors, tools, technologies, organizational structures and job roles that constitute how work is done. The Current State defines who we are. It may not be working great, but it is familiar and comfortable because we know what to expect. The Current State is where we have been successful and where we know how we will be measured and evaluated. Above all else, the Current State is known
- The Transition State is unpredictable and constantly in flux. The Transition State is often emotionally charged. During the Transition State, productivity predictably declines. The Transition State requires us to accept new perspectives and learn new ways of behaving, while still keeping up our day-to-day efforts. The Transition State is challenging
- The Future State is where we are trying to get to. The Future State is supposed to be better than the Current State in terms of performance. The Future State may not match our personal and professional goals, and there is a chance that we may not be successful in the Future State. Above all else, the Future State is unknown.
The three states of change provide a way to articulate how change actually occurs. No matter what, there is always a Current State (how things are done today), a Future State (how things will be done) and a Transition State (how we will move from point A to point B).
The 10 Key principles of Change Management
Using the following 10 key principles of Change Management as a guide, leaders and managers of change can understand what to expect, how to manage change, and how to engage the stakeholders impacted by the change.
1. Create a shared vision and common direction
The aim is to ensure that the leaders and stakeholders understand the scope of the work they are doing, how it actually supports the organisations mission and vision and the main reasons and benifits they get from the change and makes them understand the whole impact oft he process. This is important to align the leadership to their project goals, secure all the needed resources and support and especially to motivate their employees.