1.6 Change and Transition
All of a sudden, you find that you can no longer use the Excel spreadsheet that you have been using for years, because the company has introduced a new SAP software platform. We have the desired state where we have bridged the gap and we now are doing, putting into effect that new learning, the new training. So that concludes this section on transition, remember you have the ability to control how you adjust and respond to this fear.
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Welcome back to the Fundamentals of Management, I am Dave Nagy. In this lesson, I would like to, we are addressing drivers and we are addressing organization behavior relative to change and transition. So let’s talk about that. Here is a quote by Peter Senge, Peter Senge is a well known change expert, guru, author, educator and in one of his quotes he says, people do not resist change; they resist being changed. So let’s look at this sentence. You see the semi-colon there and there are two parts to this quote. In the first part, people do not resist change when it’s voluntary, when you are party to the change, when you are initiating to change, when you are looking for a new car, if there’s excitement, it’s voluntary, you want it to happen. When you are getting a new laptop computer it’s something that you want to to do, totally voluntary, and, probably, no resistance. However, the backside after the semicolon is force. You resist change, people resist change, I resist change when we’re forced to do something. All of a sudden, you find that you can no longer use the Excel spreadsheet that you have been using for years, because the company has introduced a new SAP software platform. You’ve gotta abandon the old way, and now you have to start using this new SAP that you’re not comfortable with, forced to do something. You have a letter in your email box that says, we are going to resurface the parking lot and you will not be able to park in the parking lot for the next three days. Please park in the parking lot that we have reserved space for you in, three blocks down the street. You’re not going to be happy about that. Having to arrive earlier, walk three blocks to come to your work, to get to your job, you’re going to be resistant. How come? Why can’t it be done, why does it have to affect me? Voluntary change there is very little, if any, resistance. A forced change, there is resistance. And I’m going to explain a little bit about why and how that can be overcome. So here is a typical scenario. And this is, on the right side of your screen, the current state. You see employees there in the current state or friends or associates or classmates, in the current state. Trying to look over this gap, this big canyon and they see people on the other side. The desired state, the future state. And the people on the future state are offering encouragement. Come on over here, it’s better, there’s more excitement. It’s a better way of life over here in this future state. And those individuals, their stock in the current state are looking, scratching their heads, and they’re saying, how in the world do I get there? What do I have to do? I’m not sure it’s worth the risk. So what is going on with this mindset? Well, first off, there is a barrier. People want to know what’s going on with any change initiative before they commit. They want to know. They’re curious and they want to see what’s going on. They want to have some explanation why and how, and how’s it going to affect me and how my job going to be different. So they want that information before they make a commitment. Also, you know, I know, there are some individuals who have a hard time dealing with change. We’ll talk a little bit more about that in just a few minutes. Also, people see change, all change, as a barrier that has to be driven over, crawled around, climbed over, and that becomes hard for many people. What determines the size of that barrier? Well, the size of that barrier is dependent upon the person’s attitude at the time of the change. Gosh! We have been waiting for this change for so long, it is about time. I can’t wait to drive my new car off of the lot. Maybe there is no barrier. It’s so small that it is insignificant. On the other hand, we tried this before. It didn’t work then, it’s not going to work now. I’m not going to do it. I can’t do it. I’m not smart enough to do it. Another stupid move by the company. I’m not going to do it. It’s going to go away like the others have gone away. Resistance, tall barrier, and it’s difficult to get past. So how about this transition? How do we get from here to there? Well, first, we have this starting point which is our comfort zone, the current state. Comfort zone where we are comfortable, where things are on cruise control, where we have a solid foundation of knowledge and experience and habits and behaviors that say, I know what I am doing. Then, you decide to take a class. Maybe you’ve decided to look at this Coursera program, this Fundamentals of Management program. This course offering. And you have new learnings, you’re introduced to new concepts,to new things, to new ways of thinking. You’re asked to go to a training program by your company. To be introduced to new thinking, to new ways of learning, to new experience, to new initiatives. But at this point in time, all it is is learning. You’re not really doing anything about it. So now we approach the gap. Always a gap, always a hurdle. I call it the fear zone. How do I get over this gap? How do I make my learnings work for me? Well, somebody hasn’t maybe explained to me, why do I need to do it this new way? The old way is so much easier, why can’t I continue doing it the old way? Who’s doing it the new way? Where are the models that I can look at, to emulate, to see how they are doing it? Where are the user experts that I can watch? All part of a company’s response to help people bridge the gap. Companies that don’t do it create this fear of transitioning from one side to the other, cause more resistance than they do supportive behaviors. And then, we have this transition zone. We have the desired state where we have bridged the gap and we now are doing, putting into effect that new learning, the new training. How do we bridge this gap? Is it that easy? No, it’s not that easy. This fear gap is real, it’s documented in many books going way back to 50 years, back to the Hawthorne studies at General Electric. With Kurt Ruin documenting this fear zone, with Deming documenting this fear that people have to get over, now how do companies help employees move through this gap, through this fear zone, so how do we get there? Well, in my experience, supportive behavior, supportive people within your department, a support mechanism, a support group, mentors that help you overcome this fear and help you move from existing to future. Trust. Trusting in the system, trusting in the people, trusting in your leaders. They’ve never led you astray before, and you trust that they have a sound program, a sound initiative in place that you are going to follow. Enthusiasm, you see the enthusiasm of the people in the future state and you want to get there. And then, an organization that is built upon people helping people. A we organization, not an I organization. A we organization helps people through transition. What about your organization? What about your class? What about your company? What about your job? Is there a supportive organization, or are you there as an island fighting for your own space? So that concludes this section on transition, remember you have the ability to control how you adjust and respond to this fear. And hopefully you have a supportive environment to help you.
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