The five stages to CRAFTing change
In our daily life, how do we do it, not all changes show an immediate and visible benefits, yet we keep on changing. We grow in size, age, family etc…….all changes do not seem to be positive or negative at the start yet we keep on changing, but even if some changes are apparently bad for us, we find a way to live with it and start having fun around it. A common example in Pakistan is the electricity failures. We get confused, we resist, we accept and then around the electricity failures we start having fun and within the same process some of us start to transform and build their fortune within. That’s how those who become successful in life adopt change and instead of abhorring it, start working their way to CRAFT it.
Change is one of the most talked about phenomenon in the world. You like it or not but change is what is happening around us all the time. You change yourself or not the circumstances around you change. Change is so persistent in it’s effort that it keeps on happening, it never waits for you and never becomes empathetic…..it just keeps on going. Such is the tune of change, then why not make it a friend rather than making it foe, why not help it help us and CRAFT a dignified future for us. Here is a simple modal of change that happens albeit unknowingly, if we tend to know it and accept it, it can be a future well Crafted.
Here are five stages of any change process.
Confusion: At the start of any change process. There is confusion all round. The change is not always perceived as healthy by everyone. People have different mindset, different background, different thinking, different education and different environment in which they live. It is not always a similar message to everyone. All that happens is a confusion at the start, regardless if you are looking at any change positively or negatively, regardless if you have had a previous positive or negative experience with change. For example if there is a new policy announced in the organization about a service standard or process, which is a change from the previous practice. There tend to start a confusion at the early stages as to if this policy is good or bad, why the company needed to have such a policy, why could not the previous policy be still used, who is going to benefit from this policy, what would i get from this change, how will i be effected from this change.
Clearing the Confusion: It is indeed the right of those who are effected by the change to get confused. It is indeed the duty of those who are bringing in the change to clear the confusion. A dictatorial management will try to just stamp the process and move ahead while leaving the casualties behind, whereas a sane management shall clear the way for people by clearing their confusion. In this process the sane management shall organize sessions, coaching programs while making them understand and buy into the new philosophy. In one of my experiences as head of HR in a large hotel chain. We introduced a process of guest service. This was a not a computer system, neither it was an infrastructural change, but a behavioural and mindset change. We moved from the hospitality to experience business. It was a confusion amongst the staff and management. What we did was, that we drained down this change in the service attitude from top to bottom. The executive committee needed the most push and understanding for the new process. In order to sell them the idea and clear their confusion a training program was developed and all executive committee (top management) of the hotel was introduced to the change and were sold the idea. In the second stage the supervisor level staff was given a training program and in the last stage the same concept was shared through a training program of a shorter duration to the rank and file of the hotel. The result ——- all staff came on the same page while holding the same slogan of WOW service.
Resistance: Once we are confused we resist on the face of change. If we are in a position to raise our voice, we do so. If we are not at the level of raising the voice we abhor the change and try not following the guidelines. A classic example of any resistance in the offices is change in the appraisal system of the organization. I was once heading the HR of a company and we introduced at the corporate level a new process of appraisal system. After clearing the earlier confusion of the top managers, we started having a resistance from them to complete the process. In the management committee meetings, the head of departments started sharing their lack of motivation to complete the process and how this new system is not working for them. They shared that because of this new system they will be losing staff and will not be having the required control over their subordinates. During the management committee meetings, the all powerful head of departments created much hue and cry to shun the process and go back to the previous one.
Clearing the Resistance: There are two ways at the face of resistance. One, you move back and let the resistance win in this case you will never be able to change anything in future. Or the second way you step forward and kill the resistance, this is not an easy way and needs a process approach. The process says that you need to 1) believe on changed process – that it is the best way forward. 2) start selling the change at every forum. Going back to the example of performance management process. The new process was difficult, lacked any historical background and was difficult to adopt by most. The top management had decided that this is the only way forward and there will not be any other policy for performance appraisal for the time. Based on this belief the management provided every possible forum to the disgruntled employees, besides pressing ahead with the changed process. The role of HR is significant at this stage. HR needs to follow up with the changed process and provide necessary guidelines and to the staff. When the change is in process, while HR can be flexible at the start with it’s stick policy, it needs to be strict in following up with the process. If the HR (or concerned department that is leading the change) is confused, resistant and not sold to the idea no other department is going to buy in to the change.
Acceptance: The next stage is the acceptance for change. Once the confusion is cleared and their resistance is channelized and followed up with requisite data and improvement, the employees will start to understand and accept the Change. The must see the benefit of the changed process as well. The acceptance part is easier said than done, as on the way to reach at acceptance their might have been casualties. The causalities normally do not get out of the resistance stage. When all else are moving towards the acceptance, many still vie to find a way out. When they do not, they have the potential to become a liability on the organization and organization may have to good bye them. It is a difficult process yet for a change to last long the good bye has to be instituted.
FUN: When the staff start to accept the change and they are sold to the idea by looking at the benefits of it. They start to enjoy the change. This is again a difficult part for HR or the department/person who is leading the change. As we know seeing is believing, the benefits have to be visible and on the surface. In terms of the organizational change, where all the organization is involved, the benefits can be increase in the organizational profits, bonuses to the employees, increase in employee satisfaction index etc. The change becomes a fun when all are involved and all the previous stages are crossed.
Transform: Once we accept and have fun with change, we start to transform ourselves accordingly. The transformation is the rightful end of a certain change. If we are not transformed we may have not adopted the change as it is, and whenever, we get a chance we may get back to the previous practice or self. Transformation is the paradigm shift, a 180 degree shift to the new era. A new identity of self and the organization. Transformation is the most important end of a given change process. The organizations that do not transform with the changing scenarios, lose their identity and competitive punch. There are many organization who love change………they go through the process of confusion, resistance, acceptance and fun but fail to make a system (transform) for their changed process. If they fail to transform their is every likelihood that they fall back to the same old process when the force of change is taken away. In the example of appraisal systems the transformation demands that the new appraisal system is sync with the values of the organization. Favouritism and personal likes and dislikes are catastrophic menaces. Appraisal systems are bull dozed by such menaces. If a transformation is required the organization would have to desists its habit of favoritism if it want to live longer with a changed process.