When an organization decides to undergo a change or transformation or plans to take on any new behavioral skills or soft skills initiatives, assignments, set a new performance target, seize new markets, it requires to adopt change in various forms – change in process, job responsibilities, organizational structures and sometimes even technology too.
We all must have heard the quote “Change is the only constant” a lot many times. Be it at an organizational level or at an individual level, one needs to constantly keep changing and upgrading themselves with time. Every change brings you closer to opening new doors of opportunities.
The most crucial element of change management in an organization is the human capital. Because it is the employees who will be greatly affected by the change and it is the employees who will reduce or augment the effects of the change.
They need to be encouraged and instilled to ultimately change their way of working, the way they have been doing their jobs. If employees fail or are unsuccessful in the transition, if they don’t embrace and learn a new way of working, the entire initiative can fail. If employees embrace and adopt changes in a timely manner as needed by the initiative, it'll bring the expected and powerful results.
The most important derivative of change management is clear and open communication within the stakeholders. For the employees to bring about and accept the change, it is timely and transparent communication that is required from the management. With change comes fear and uncertainty. Fear and uncertainty with reference to failure at new job role, job instability or the inability to hone the redundant skills.
The purpose of change management is to implement the right strategies for carrying out change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change seamlessly.
It is with the help of change management that we prepare, train and support people to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and results in the times of need.
Change management can be best understood with the help of change management model developed by Kurt Lewin. It describes the three main stages to transfer an organization from its current state to a desired future state: “Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze.”
Let’s understand this change model with the help of an example. A manufacturing organization, ABZ Pvt. Ltd. wants to bring in a new technology which will help them in increasing their production without compromising on the quality. For this the management or the torch bearers of the transformation need to clearly communicate with the employees as to why there is a need to bring in the new technology, drawbacks of the current technology, what the competition demands, how the new technology will smoothen up the process and how it will help the employees professionally.
This is when you encounter
Stage I - Unfreeze of Kurt Lewin’s Change Management Model.
This stage is about getting ready to change. It is about acknowledging the need to change. This step helps us in preparing ourselves, or others, before the commencement of change.
The manufacturing firm, ABZ Pvt. Ltd. can have a meet up or formal discussion with the employees who will be affected, using or experiencing the new technology. Employees need to be made aware about the changes that are to take place. Proper communication is the key in dealing with the first stage of change management. Communication skills are highly essential in stage I as lack of communication will lead to grapevines, negativity and resistance from people to even understand why this change is needed or how this will help in the betterment of the existing process.
Stage II: Change
This second stage arises as we make the changes that are needed. People are moving towards a new way of being. This stage is often the most difficult one as people are uncertain and fearful of the outcome. Here, the technology gets introduced at the workplace. Employees get introduced to new process, rules, tricks and tips on how to use the process. Employees will feel rigid in trying their hands at the new process, running into errors or will see their errors as a negative side of the process. It is really helpful to keep communicating a clear picture of the desired change - and the benefits - so that people don't lose sight of where they are heading towards transformation.
Stage III: Refreeze
This stage is about creating stability once the changes have been made. The changes are accepted and become the new norm of the organization. People form new associations and become comfortable with their routines. The new technology now becomes a new norm of the organization. People start getting comfortable with the new process and the process starts becoming the new routine.
Let us apply this model to the change management process that each student of Nirmiti Academy goes through irrespective of the program that he/she has enrolled into. The Unfreeze stage is when the participant goes through his pre-training assessment and gets into a face-off of what are the traits, habits, etiquettes, etc. that he needs to change. The trainer at Nirmiti Academy sets the context and the tone of the learning journey in every program such as Personality Development, Spoken English, Business Communication and focused programs that he may undergo for the next two - three months. Learning objectives and reflective exercises facilitate clear and timely communication between the trainer and the trainee. Upon raising the awareness, practising and working closely on the improvement areas, assessments and guided feedback, the participant begins to change at the Change Stage. She finds newer ways of conducting herself in social interactions. It is during such transition to newer ‘you’ is when the trainers keep recapsulating the learnings connecting it to personal focus areas. The assessments also raises their bar consistently. It really goes by the adage ‘when the going gets tough, the tought gets going’. At the Refreeze stage, participants become comfortable with speaking out of their comfort zones. At the cusp of finishing line of the existing batch, we bring the new set of people who kickstart their journey once again. By then, the existing pool of participants have conditioned themselves to be more confident, easy-going and adaptive to new routines and faces. Change management process is simply the first step that a student takes towards developing his Personality.
The Kurt Lewin model is useful to set a process of change for people that is quite easy to understand. Each stage can be expanded to help in the better understanding of the process. Applying these concepts at a personal level can give us insight and help us better understand how we deal with change at every juncture.
Change management is a process that requires proper planning, more awareness and acceptance, set clear goals, open communication and continual attention paid to feedback from the receivers. If change can be seen as a desired process rather than a disruption in routine, the entire transition period may proceed more smoothly than it would otherwise. As much as one sets the tone and the attitude towards change, organisations can also instill a team of change agents and create ‘Changing rooms’ instead of meeting rooms!
Change has become the new constant. It is an integral part of every living being’s life. Even a caterpillar cringes into a pupa to come our as colourful as a butterfly! The tea bag also goes dip-dip and gets heated in boiling water to bring out the best aromatic teas of the world! To stay ahead in the competitive world or develop one’s Personality, change management must be deep - rooted into the thought and lifestyle.
Change with time and in time. We are dispaensible resources but while we are transacting change, bringing tranformation in our personality or way of life is our choice. In fact, Change is necessary to live life infinitely. Keep striving, keep growing, keep moving as life without change will be truly lifeless!
To facilitate change seamlessly at work or in life, Nirmiti Academy specialises in such learning initiatives that can be customised and conducted for Corporates or Individuals in form of Soft Skills, Personality Development, Spoken English and Corporate trainings to bring sustainable Change in personal and professional lives.
Also read: The Millennial Minds
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