A LARGE AUSTRALIAN SUPERMARKET CHAIN RECENTLY MADE THE DECISION TO REPLACE THEIR SUITE OF DESKTOP APPLICATIONS WITH GOOGLE APPS. THEY ALSO DECIDED THAT THE CHANGE WOULD TAKE PLACE IMMEDIATELY. WITH RADICAL CHANGES SUCH AS THIS, EMPLOYEES ARE GENERALLY GOING TO SHOW SOME FORM OF RESISTANCE AS MANY ARE AVERSE TO CHANGE. THIS MAY BE BECAUSE THEY ARE NERVOUS ABOUT DEVIATING FROM WHAT THEY ARE FAMILIAR WITH.
When rolling out such changes, organisations have the option to either phase them in or introduce them all at once. Phasing the introduction of new technology allows employees to become accustomed to the change and garner acceptance over time. Such methods often use Kotter’s ‘8-Step Process for Leading Change*:
Establish a sense of urgency – explain the need for change
Create a team of guiders – assemble a team to lead the change
Develop a vision – guiders should plan a vision and develop strategies to achieve the vision
Communicate the vision – inform employees of the vision and what will happen
Empower action – remove any unnecessary obstacles
Generate short-term wins – set small, achievable goals
Never let-up – promote the change by highlighting milestones and change systems, structures or policies that don’t fit the vision
Incorporate change into the culture – demonstrate how the change has improved processes within the organisation
However, businesses seldom have the luxury of time. With changing market conditions and increasing competition, there is urgency for organisations to take advantage of new technologies. This ensures they remain competitive.
“New technology often triggers a reaction to change, whether that is a change in processes, a change in systems, or both.” commented Kareem Tawansi, CEO of software development provider, Solentive Software, “Technology plays an integral part of most organisations and this means that the only constant is change.”
“Given the choice, most people would resist change. However, change is a fact of life and it is important that it is handled appropriately. This means a thorough explanation is given and support provided to those affected so that they have the opportunity to understand and accept the change. It is also important that the change is implemented quickly without becoming side-tracked with smaller issues,” advised Tawansi.
“The change may still be difficult for some people to accept; they need to be educated that the change will achieve outcomes that are essential in the fast changing world we live and work in,” concluded Tawansi.
* Kotter, J., The 8-Step Process for Leading Change – (Kotter International)