Sustaining organizational change and change initiatives

By William Seidman Sustaining the organizational change that your company or group has spent a lot of time and money to implement can be really tough. Many years ago at HP, a first-level manager talked to me about how hard it was to keep the business running while learning a new business process. He was echoing the complaints from his group. His manager, who was also my manager,  sat him down and asked him a question: “Are you a manager?” My colleague answered, “Yes.” Our manager then had a very simple response: “Then manage it!” The first thing the organization needs to do, from the top executive down, is to actually expect people to find a way to manage the situation. The second thing is to give people some training in how to lead an organization through a change. This training usually has two parts: Authentic Commitment,  a belief in the usefulness and validity of the change  Continuous Demonstration of Tangible Support, in which the manager is taught how to walk the talk of the change Additionally, managers need to be held explicitly accountable, with both rewards for effectively managing and penalties for focusing merely on keeping the business running. Obviously, if the executive team is less than actively supportive of the change and of the ways and means to sustain it,  the organization cannot improve.]]>

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