Change - Welcome to the Heart of Europe

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Being confronted with change, initially, many people see what is being taking away from them rather than what they will get out of it. One's head may agree to the desired future state, but the heart may really want to keep things the way they have always been. This is why it is so important to win both the mind and the heart for new ideas in order to convince others both intellectually and emotionally. This page is no more and no less than a blazing plea to actively manage change!
 
Managing (Un)problematic Change NOW!
 
Dylan Dynamics. One word is dominating our present and future: Change, which often comes with the fear of the unknown. Change impacts can be classified by their effect on people, process, technology, and last but not least culture. We find new mountains to climb all the time. Most change happens ongoingly and so seamlessly that it is hardly noticeable. Over time, the questions may be the same, but the answers may have changed. The call for change has been often reflected in song. Dylan's snarled advice to senators, congressman, mothers and fathers not to stand in the way for "The Times They Are a-Changin" has become an anthem of change far beyond the Civil Rights Movement, it was originally connected to.
 
Openess for New Ways. Attention may not so much be put on major overall changes but a "change to my kingdom" that causes reservation up to resistance. Full of emotional pain and unspeakable despair, Ozzy howled that it's too late now for he let his woman go and is going through "Changes." Bowie stuttered "Ch-Ch-Changes" as he turned and faced the strain of reinventing himself after discovering that times may change him, but he can't trace time. It all gets down to the same point: Flexibility is requested from us these days more than ever. Be it the openness to adopt new practices, as we attempt to "catch our train" and become part of the future rather than being left behind in the dull past.
 
A chameleon in Klagenfurt's Reptile Zoo surely demonstrates the ability to change. There are very few creatures with higher adaptability to their environment. For change is often uncomfortable and approaching something new comes with risk. 
  
Available-to-promise calculation during order fulfillment usually struggles with one thing: Running out of stock and resulting TNA's, short for temporarily not available items. Walking through the San Diego Zoo, we found out that the same can happen to... animals?
 
Resistance Drivers. People can be in different phases of a change process, including the stages of awareness, desire, commitment, or action. Lack of involvement brings on a feeling of things being out of personal control. Signs of resistance to change may include canteen talk, as an increase in gossip fills in the blanks between the truth and uncertainty. Overall, resistance to change is driven by three main factors:
  • Rational resistance: The intent must make sense to people. Benefit and goals must be visible, to rebut logical arguments against the transformation.
  • Political resistance: Power and influence and the fear of losing the same are also potential drivers for opponency. One countermeasure is involvement.
  • Emotional resistance: Fear is the biggest factor that can be met with providing perspectives and transparency, in order to identify, whether the reaction is legitimate. It manifests itself in form of comfort fear (e.g. reduction of office space), performance and success fears (e.g. loss from fusions), social fears (e.g. reintegration into a new social environment), existential fears (e.g. job loss, life quality) and identity fears (e.g. self-definition by job status, also in private surroundings).
  
Seven States of Shock. Typically, there are seven phases of change. Be it with structural reorganization or a medical disease, a similar behavior pattern applies. "Start" describes the event of delivery of bad news. "Shock" comes next, often hand-in-hand with total standstill. "Denial" creates a "now more than ever"-atmosphere and often leads to "bargaining with the devil," as one tends to make unrealistic promises just to avert the change, such as: "I will work double from now on" or "I will light a candle every day, if this cup passes from me." "Realization" comes with understanding that the change is inevitable. "Acceptance" follows soon after, as one learns to cope with the situation. Identification of secondary gain out of a problem definitely helps ("Problemgewinn"). For example, this would include everyone suddenly caring for an ill patient. "Trial" is when one starts to experiment with the new mode of operation. "Integration" of change finally defines the new state of normality as the targeted final outcome.
 
Standard Selling Phases. Interestingly, selling also consists of seven phases: Using open questions, first you collect "information" and identify the "need." The product "characteristics" are documented to prepare the argumentation. Next, one overcomes "reservations" and confirms the "common understanding" with closed questions. An "offer" or quote leads to successfully "closing" the business transaction or the confirmation of a project order, following the motto: "Des mach' ma – Let's do it!" Obviously, in selling change, one should maintain a good balance of telling versus asking and listening. Once change is performed, burning the bridges to the past helps that one doesn't go back to the old way, when things get rocky.
 
Freezer Logic. Change itself usually consists of the three basic steps "unfreezing" during initiation, "moving" things into the to-be state, and finally "refreezing" in order to anchor the future state by institutionalizing it with the help of influencers in the organization as change agents. Rather than pushing back on resistance, aspirational questions involve skeptics into identifying improvement opportunities. Overcoming initial emotional reaction, one needs to be prepared to constructively deal with change and see the potential that goes along with it. According to the rule "structure follows strategy," reorganization should not be a dead end, but always have the desired future state in mind. The theory of structuration states that structure leads to behavior, and in return behavior reinforces structure. With the introduction of change it is equally important to tackle official regulations and policies as much as hidden rules in order to anchor the same change in the organization.
 
Pace of Change. Change Management is a bundle of recommended behaviour and measures to successfully implement changes. Overly ambitious plans are doomed to fail, as they may create more problems than they solve. Clearly, too much change at once isn't healthy either. Instead, piloting on a smaller-scale-for-example lets change spread at a digestible pace through an organization. For too hastily performed change can paralyze even more than it sets in motion. Agile methodology tells us not to make decisions until we have to. The later decisions are taken, the more complete the underlying understanding may be. Successful change programs display an amount of flexibility and are open to revision as they move forward into uncertainty. Lengthy change initiatives should be broken down into achievable, near-term wins – a number of result-driven programs to target, celebrate, and leverage for re-engagement in order to move ahead, one step at a time.
 
Go to the next pages to read about Innovation.
 
 
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