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Sept 2009 - Change Management

Warm and sunny greetings to everyone

My Experiences

I have been working on establishing a website for Riffel Consulting over the last few weeks (and more) and what an experience I have had relating to service! After contacting at least 7 service providers, I got a response from the last one only. The interest in providing a service and the response time has, in my opinion, been shocking. There clearly is no strain on these businesses in tough economic times to secure new business it seems. Needless to say that poor service has been my experience from other large and small contractors and suppliers as well and I am sure that we all have a story to tell in this area… Which brings me to the topic of this edition’s My Insights & Views – Change. How do we impact on and really change developed/learnt behaviour patterns to bring about desired results in our organisations?

My Insights & Views

"The only constant in life is change": Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher.

How do the majority of people prepare themselves for the changes in their life? … Well they don’t.

What percentage of organisations prepare their employees for changes in the business whether the change is a change in structures/leadership/ownership; performance standards/results; culture; processes & procedures, etc?

A recent poll indicated that only 25% of employees in organisations were coping with recent changes, the other 75% either were not able to adapt to the change or were coping but the morale and therefore productivity in the organisation was being affected.

The greatest challenge for senior managers during organisational change is to keep the decline in morale, productivity and commitment to a minimum. To do this, there are several issues that must be considered but I will not delve into this now.

International benchmarking highlights that there are three major barriers to successful change implementation

  1. Inadequate change management competence
  2. Lack of leadership/management visibility and support
  3. Resistance to change

Largely organisations communicate change requirements to the organisation and they have the resources to develop people competence to effect the change. Change requirements are usually imminent and there is no time to deal with individual employee concerns and it is generally a long and drawn out process to engage with employees and evaluate their inputs. So this eventually results in employee resistance to the change once implemented. So my deduction is that one of the primary reasons why organisations often don’t address these barriers is TIME on all 3 counts – there is no time to deal with individual concerns and the reasons for their resistance, leadership does not have the time to be more visible in the workplace during its implementation, staff development primarily focuses on functional and daily soft skills to lead and manage teams, resulting in a lack of time and prioritisation for training and developing change competence.

Change competency requires a cultural and skill shift from all levels of the organization. This can be achieved through an awareness and desire for change competency; active development to build knowledge and ability to manage change; application of change management principles to each new project; assessment of the effectiveness of leaders, managers and employees in managing change; and finally the reinforcement and reward for change competency.

One of the strategic priorities for employee and leadership development has to include change competence. Supporting this development activity there needs to be a corresponding measure of how simple changes are implemented and managed. The level of skill in change competence can impact how successfully organisations achieve their targets and implement business priorities.
Ensure that your 2010 development curriculum includes Change Competence.

My Discoveries

Networking has become one of the buzz words and trends. No doubtedly there is a need and a benefit in it, so I too jumped on the bandwagon, with an interest in establishing a Networking Forum. I came across 2 existing forums of this nature that may be of interest to you.

Inspiring Women is a network for women in business and offers a variety of services including joining one of the franchised networking groups which meets monthly in your area to make new contacts and establish beneficial relationships. See their website:

Another forum is the Caxton Business Forum that runs in the South of Johannesburg. Topical breakfast sessions are run on a monthly basis. For enquiries or to get onto their mailing list contact Claire Carr 011 724 7044.

Till the next time, happy networking…

PS Please do take a look at my newly launched website: I would love to have your feedback!

Audri Riffel
P O Box 147 Magaliesig 2067
Cell:    +27 (0)82 4944720
Fax:     086 661 0060

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