Canadian Managers Magazine / Fall 2023 - Issue 4, Vol. 47 / Article 4

Managing Change (Retro Reading Article)

If ever there were a consensus, it is the initial resistance to change. Change strikes at the comfort factor of both individuals and operational organizations. Change represents the unknown, and, as such, is clouded by suspicion.

By Dr. Jack Hensler | Chartered Managers Canada



Change, all of which must be managed, can deal with on subordinate employee, a work group, a market, or an entire organization. Each situation must be addressed separately although some key principles apply:

  1. Define the objectives of the change by quantifying them and assigning specific time frames.
  2. Communicate the change required, both orally and by written record.
  3. Review the progress toward the change objectives on normal reporting periods, such as weekly or monthly, both orally and by written record.
  4. Reach decision agreement regarding the capability and capacity of the subordinate, the work group, or organization to accomplish satisfactory change.

The most sensitive situation requiring the managing of change is that which deals with a subordinate employee or manager who must change to improve effectiveness and meet changed performance requirements. The most productive result is for the subordinate employee or manager to make the change required and improve performance to a satisfactory level. IF this is not possible, agreement will be reached that the subordinate employee or manage cannot make the change and must be replaced and / or reassigned. To manage this sensitive situation, the manager must take the following steps:

  1. List the changes which the subordinate must make and the current shortcomings in performance. Describe both perceptions and hard facts.
  2. Initiate the Change Action Period (CAP) with a personal meeting to review the changes required and the perceived and factual shortcomings.
  3. Gain agreement on the objectives of the changes required.
  4. Gain agreement on the Change Action Period (CAP) and the time frames for progress review.
  5. Define change progress guidelines to measure the subordinate’s progress toward making the changes required.
  6. Make objectives, the CAP, and the scheduled reviews of progress a matter of record and available for review at any time so that the process ensures that neither the subordinate nor the mange will experience surprises.
  7. Clearly establish that the end of the Change Action Period (CAP) is the decision point when the subordinate has successfully made the required changes or must be replaced by an effective performer and reassigned to responsibilities which meet the performance capacity of the subordinate.

In summary, the process must be a matter of record, there must be no surprises, and changes objectives must not be compromised. It should be recognized, as well, that the more senior the subordinate, the longer the Change Action Period (CAP).

When manage the change of a work group or organization, the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) should be used:

  1. Select a Change Steering Committee (CSC) with representatives from each level of the work group or organization. The CSC should not number more than six.
  2. The Change Steering Committee (CSC) must be given the mission to articulate the objectives of change.
  3. Agreement regarding the quantified and timeframe objectives must be reached with the responsible manager or owner.
  4. The Change Steering Committee (CSC) reviews the progress toward change through weekly or monthly performance reports.
  5. The end of the Change Action Period (CAP) establishes the decision point at which the work group or organization has successfully made the change or clearly needs restructuring to meet change performance goals.

It must be recognized that each organization, manger, and worker must improve performance daily in order to meet the productivity requirements of the 90’s. This means change, and change must be managed effectively.

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Hensler is a Managing Principal of Fry Consultants Incorporated, Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Hensler is a former Vice President and General Manager of both the Supply Division and the Interior Products Operating Division of the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation. He also served as President, Amarlite Architectural Products Company. Most of his current consulting activity is involved with industrial business management, marketing, and distribution client engagements.

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